Loving one another is the core of our Christian walk. The phrase “love one another” is repeated at least a dozen times in the NT. We are also commanded to submit to one another, encourage one another, care for one another, forgive one another, and edify one another.
Jesus taught to “love one another as I have loved you.” Such love only believers can give and receive, since it grows out of having the Holy Spirit.
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. (John 13:34, 35)
Pride Kills Love
Religious pride is a nasty root that produces a wicked, sinful weed that chokes out the fruit of the Spirit.
There are those who claim a love for God but pridefully show no love to others. The Word says we can never claim to love God in substitute for love for other believers (John 4:20-21). Anyone who claims to love God, yet hates his brother makes a false claim; he is a liar.
This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. (Zech 7:9).
Mercy and compassion are commands easily overlooked when one is full of pride. They focus on their definition of how to live a devoted life without thinking of the needs of others.
We have to remember this simple fact: there is no one without fault.
Jesus spent the majority of His ministry teaching against the prideful attitudes of the hypocritical Pharisees. There is no profit in knowing the whole Bible if we live without grace and the love of God!
Our natural inclination is to be self-centered and prideful. We can’t love one another in our sin nature; we need God’s Holy Spirit within us. Then love becomes a behavior flowing from within.
Loving One Another When We Don’t Agree
It’s easy to talk about loving one another. It’s much more difficult to put it into action. Christians get offended easily and bear grudges over many things, especially over interpretation of God’s Word.
Christian love does not mean that we must agree on everything. We should be able to disagree in areas while maintaining love, respect, and a warm, unified spirit.
Fruits have seeds. The fruit of God’s Spirit are seeds that will bring forth unity and peace, not seeds of division (James 3:17-18). Quarreling, discord and division in the church are the opposite of the spiritual oneness that Jesus prayed for (John 17:21) and that the Spirit was given to produce in the body.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:2-3).
We are to keep or guard this unity “through the bond” which consists of “peace.” We must lovingly tolerate each other in spite of our differences.
How can lost sinners believe that God loves them when God’s children don’t show love to one another?
Fulfilling the Needs of Others
When we practice the practical acts of love by meeting the needs of others, we have a basic assurance of the Spirit of God within. Ask yourself this simple question, “Am I fulfilling needs of others?”
Love for God is expressed by love for one’s brother. With the Holy Spirit we joyfully desire to fulfill the needs of others. As the song says:
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that all unity may one day be restored: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
Not Feeling the Love?
Christ’s standard is set so high that we can easily feel inadequacy and failure at loving one another. But this guilt-ridden heart is evidence of the Holy Spirit working within us. Conviction is from God, condemnation is from the enemy.
Remember Peter’s response to the Lord’s final query, “Do you love me?” Peter replied, “Lord, You know all things; you know that I love you” (John 21:17). Once we learn to rest on God’s knowledge of all things, there comes a new confidence before God.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 Jn 3:21-4:1).
This week I have been reminded how short our time is. May we make the best of it by supporting one another, consoling one another, caring for one another, helping one another, and encouraging one another in the love of Christ.
Thank you Dear Ones for the love you have shown me this week.