And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you “walk in love.” 2 John 1:5-6
I am always blown away when I hear the stories of great forgiveness in unthinkable situations. Like when the parents of murder victim forgive their child’s perpetrator. Or when a victim of sexual assault forgives and befriends their assailant. As a parent myself, I can’t even begin to think of what kind of courage and selflessness that type of forgiveness takes. And yet, I know when I see and hear of these type of situations, there almost always is a testimony of God’s grace, mercy and love found in each circumstance. It is in this kind of forgiveness that the love of God is displayed for all the world to see.
In Matthew 22, the religious Pharisees were questioning Jesus as to which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses. Jesus replied by saying, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. He then went on to say, “This is the first and greatest commandment and a second is equally important: to Love your neighbor as yourself.” He then said that the entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” This means in keeping these two commands, a person fulfills all the others.
Believe it or not, as believers in Christ, we are all commended to this type of sacrificial love. This is the agape love of God which is only possible by the presence of His Spirit working in and through us. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The agape love of God is evidence of His working in our lives.
A great indicator for me in my love evidenced for God, is in how I am treating and responding to those God has placed in my life? Our love for God is seen in how well I am loving others. I daily fall short and need God’s constant forgiveness and grace but it is my greatest desire to continue to grow and evidence His love working in and through my life. God’s love often feels like it goes against our natural inclinations (because it does). It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and by walking in love can we even begin to love as Christ loves.
God places others in our lives so that we may get plenty of practice in choosing to walk in love verses walking in the flesh. This is a moment by moment choice and that happens when we choose love over offense, anger, hurt and unforgiveness. Walking in love takes practice and does not come natural because God’s love is supernatural. True love makes way for the impossible because with God, all things are possible. God’s love goes beyond self to put the needs of others before our own. Some ways that God’s love manifests itself in our lives is by unselfish giving, yielding to others and a trust in God in all situations.
The world’s version of love is often confused with lust. True love is not a feeling but an action. It is acting in the best interest of the other person. True love exacts a price which is the giving up of self-interest for the sake of another. God demonstrated this true love when he sent his one and only son to die for our sins. God’s love for us is the greatest love possible and in him we find the greatest love story ever, his love story for us.
1 John 5:9-12 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is REAL love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is brought to full expression in us.
Father God thank you for your perfect love. Thank you for the price you paid for us. Because we were bought with a price, help us to live for you. Help us to walk not according to the flesh but according to Your Spirit that is at work within us. Help us to love others like you love us and to forgive us when we fall short. Help us to grow to be more like you! Thank you for who you are and for your amazing love toward us. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN