Love Thy Neighbor (I John 3:16)
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.
In the book of Ruth, we find the Biblical account of the kinsman redeemer. The kinsman redeemer had to be willing to redeem his kinsman. He could say “No” if he wanted to do so. This is what the kinsman that was first in line to Elimelech did with Ruth. He was unwilling to marry Ruth, to love, cherish and care for her, whereas Boaz unselfishly was willing to take on this responsibility. Note that Boaz is remembered and the other relative is unknown and forgotten.
The famous artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was approached by the founder of John Hopkin’s Medical School, Elizabeth Garrett, who wanted him to paint a group portrait of the four men that brought prestige to the school. The four doctors were Drs. Welch, Halstead, Osier and Kelly. From the very start, Dr, Welch began making problems for Sargent. All of Sargent’s attempts for reconciliation with Dr, Welch were unsuccessful. He complained that Sargent called all of them “Kelly” and he did not like the pose for the picture. Sargent was so angry with Dr. Welch that he told him he would paint his face in such a way that it would gradually fade and he would not be remembered by posterity. The painting today still hangs in the school and sure enough, the face of Dr. Welch has steadily faded to the point that you cannot recognize, or discern his features.
This is a reminder of the truth that people who are selfish and live only for themselves seem to fade away into history, but those who serve the Lord and live for others will be remembered not only here on earth, but by the Lord for eternity. Don’t be a fading face. Make your life count for Jesus Christ.
Christ impacted the world and history because of His unselfishness. When we look at Christ, we find He was willing to redeem us. He did nothing against His will when it came to giving His life for us. When our Lord agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane He demonstrated His willingness to the pay the price for sin. Thank God for Christ our Redeemer!
How would you define love? Most people would describe it as a passionate feeling of desire. This is only partially true; the emotional aspect only outlines a bigger picture. Real love is demonstrated by actions and truth.
A single mother was forced from her house. She asked for several men from our church to help her move to a new home. If I had told her, “Don’t worry; God will take care of everything. He’ll work it all out,” without offering any assistance, that wouldn’t be showing real love. Because we helped, she saw love in action.
God proved His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for our sins. No greater example of true love exists. False love is empty and meaningless. It lacks a heart and soul.
If we claim to love our neighbors, we must be willing to love in action. Do your claims of love for your spouse, family member, or neighbor extend beyond words? How do they know you love them? Strive to make your love visible in your relationships today.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have a growing capacity to love. Because You have set Your love on me, I am growing in my love for You and for others. I am in process and moving forward. Please keep growing in me the capacity to love well those You’ve given me. In Jesus name, Amen!
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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.