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John 13: 34

“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

John 15: 13

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus gave us one commandment knowing if we would live by this one commandment we would fulfill all the law and the prophets. Everything that God would prescribe for us is included in this one commandment, that we love one another as Jesus first loved us. 

How did Jesus love us? He loved us sacrificially. He put our needs before his even to the point of death. That is a remarkable act. Can you imagine putting other people’s needs before your desires even if it means your death? That is a tall order. Face it; most of us continuously serve ourselves even at the cost of others. How often do we cease our pursuit of what we want long enough to even consider what others need or want? It is just not our way, is it? We were not trained to serve others but rather to grab all we can get even if it means hurting others. So, what does it take for us to, even for a moment, retire our self-interest long enough to consider the needs and wants of someone else?

Whatever Jesus told us to do he has also empowered us to do. That is good news, yes? But realize too that there is no excuse for disobedience. We do not have the excuse that we cannot do what he has commanded because he always provides the ability with the command. So, if this is Jesus’ command to us, and we know it is, and he has empowered us with the ability to fulfill the love command, then why aren’t more of us living by this commandment? 

God is love. He is the power and authority required to fulfill this commandment. Jesus is showing us that our grand command is to convey the essence of God to others. Did you catch that? Since our command is to love one another and God is love then the command is to “God” one another as Jesus did or to express the nature and heart of God among one another just like Jesus did. It sounds like a difficult task but Jesus provided the way. He told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father which would give them the requisite power (Acts 1: 4 – 8). Then he sent the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit has come to make his abode in us, to actually live in our hearts. He is the power to love and to live. The only way we can do what Jesus has commanded us to do is for us to fill up with God. We can never in our own strength or by an effort of our will love people the way Jesus has directed us. We must first let love fill us to overflowing, then we will be able to let the expression of who God is flow out of us.

So we have an absolute command from our Lord regarding how we are to treat others and he has provided the means by which we can adhere to his command. We must make a decision to obey this commandment of love. We need to understand with our minds that it means putting others needs ahead of ours. We should actually spend some time thinking about what that means and meditating on how that might appear in practice. Then we need to seek the help of the Father through prayer. We must first let Him love us. We will never be able to love others if we do not first receive the love of God deep into our hearts. His love can only flow through us once we have allowed Him to abide fully within us. So there is our starting point and perhaps where many of us fail. Make a decision to obey Jesus’ command to love others as he loved us and then earnestly seek the help of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Open your heart and let God flow into it. Open your heart and let His love flow out.

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