Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #6 Love One Another (John 13:34-35) – PART 1
John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The purpose of the church revolves around what we are to do for each other. More than anything else, loving one another reveals whether or not we are truly Christians. The lost person cares about neither the church we attend nor the doctrines we believe, but how we show our love for one another. The Bible mentions this supreme principle 14 times (John 13:34-35; John 15:12, 17; Romans 13:8; I Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; I Peter 1:22; I John 3:11, 23; I John 4:7, 11-12; II John 5). Our Lord told His disciples, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35). Our love for one another is an outward demonstration of our salvation. The unconverted ought to be able to look at our love for one another and see a demonstration of God's love for them.
God's redemptive offer of love in Christ was to all men (John 3:16; I Timothy 2:4; 4:10; Titus 2:11; II Peter 3:9). We never reach a point in our spiritual journey where our love stops growing (I Corinthians 13:8, 13; I Thessalonians 3:12). True Biblical love knows no boundaries, it is a sacrificial love. Their love would be expressed broadly (to all) and more narrowly (to one another). In I Thessalonians 3:12, the words increase and abound has the idea of something overflowing. We are called to have overflowing love for one another. As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you will also be growing in your love for one another. That love can even overflow toward unbelievers. Our love is to abound to all people.
Love is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love...” (Galatians 5:22). Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” When the Holy Spirit has control of our lives, He reproduces that same love in us. True, Biblical love is more than mere lip service. Real love demands sacrifice and commitment. I John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” While we will probably never have to lay down our lives for a friend, on a regular basis we are called upon to lay down our busy schedules and take time to encourage someone. The demands of Biblical love go far beyond cheap words. I John 3:17, “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” As our Lord’s love for us, our love for one another should be unconditional. Conditional love is self-seeking, in that it is easier to love those who will return love. Unconditional love is never easy, but our Lord calls us to love one another unconditionally. An authentic believer will love their enemies and pray for those who will persecute him.
1. Listen to People
We all have the natural urge to defend, justify, or rationalize our behavior. We never like to entertain the thought of being wrong. Few things reveal our love for people like really listening to them. Listening is becoming a lost art because it requires tremendous concentration. Most people speak about 120 words a minute, but we listen, or think, three times faster than that. Therefore, as we listen to someone speak, our minds have a lot of time to wander. Most problems in marriage, parenting, and other relationships are communication problems listening to one another.
2. Offer Assistance
Everyone needs practical help. Love is something you do, not just something you say. In I Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes that he and his co-laborers loved the Thessalonian believers. I Thessalonians 2:8, “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” They loved them so much they were happy not only to share the Gospel with them, but also giving our time and assisting them with their needs.
Points to Ponder:
Loving one another by listening begins in the home.
Some of the best advice you will ever receive will come from listening to your spouse or children.
Never is it more important to listen than when there is conflict in a relationship.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to grow in my love for You and for others You have given me. I know the power of Your love can impact someone today so, help me take the time to show it to someone today.
Thank you for reading PART 1 of Biblical Building Block #6 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for PART 2 of Biblical Building Block #6 of this series.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.