We’ve been talking a lot about loving others during this series called “Rooted.” The rubber really meets the road when we are faced with loving those who are hard to love. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes even think certain people are unloveable. What do we do about loving others when put in those situations? Being able to love well – no matter what the circumstances or our personal feelings – produces evidence of our faith. Pastor Adam suggested “It is the marker that proves that what you believe is legitimate.” It is fruit from your faith walk with Jesus. The way we view and love others relates to the way we view God. The more we bask in God’s love for us, believe it, and internalize it, the more we begin to love others with the love we receive and experience from God. We change from the inside out as we appropriate God’s unconditional love for us. Do you TRULY believe that you are accepted and loved by God? Is that belief producing fruit in your life? Are you able to love others well because of God’s love for you?
Pastor Adam pointed out that as we love God & love others, God begins to redeem & restore everything that is broken & damaged in our lives. Who doesn’t desire that? This occurs because the gaps in our lives caused by sin – perhaps committed by us or perhaps committed by others toward us – begin to heal and become restored as we move toward wholeness. As we begin to love God and love others, the stage is set for the supernatural to occur. By giving ourselves away and loving others, we are being healed and helping to heal others. God accomplishes all this through us. It is not up to us or our good behavior or how much scripture we memorize. It is done through God changing us from the inside out because of love.
Pastor Adam used a quote by Bob Goff: “I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes.”
Will you say “yes” to Jesus this week?
Monday: I John 4:19 & I John 4:16: We can love only because we are loved by God. In order for our grasp of God’s love to be truly transformational in our lives–and shared with others–it must become the basis of our identity. Do you truly know and believe you are loved by God? If there is any doubt in your life, perhaps you can spend some time basking in God’s unconditional love for you – just as you are. This is foundational to our Christian journey and is well worth however long it takes – days, weeks, or months.
Tuesday: I John 4:17-18: As we live in God, our love is perfected. This doesn’t occur overnight. God is not in a hurry. It is a process. These verses also deal with how perfect love cast out fear. Often people read this and assume it is up to us to love perfectly and then fear will be gone. Today you are invited to pray through and meditate about how you are ALREADY loved perfectly and how that casts out fear in your life and relationships. Because of HIS perfect love for you, you will be able to love others.
Wednesday: John 13:34-35: We are to love others as we have been loved. Take some time in your prayer time today to consider how this is a stewardship issue, i.e. giving to others what Jesus has so graciously given to you. How might you remind yourself of this as you go about your life today and in the days to come?
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26: Love is a verb. Love requires action, not just warm sentiments and emotions. The friends of this crippled men took a risk. Sometimes love does what is hard, risky or costly. What actions are required of you this week to truly love those around you?
Friday: I Peter 4:8-10: These verses mention being a good steward of God’s grace shown to us by extending it to others. It also mentions how “love covers a multitude of sins.” We have all sinned and fallen short. However, love can fill in the gaps caused by sin in our lives. Spend some time in prayer today asking God to show you any sins you may need to seek forgiveness about – and if there is a way you might “cover” it with love.