A New Command
by Rosalinde Joosten
11 April 2023« Previous Day | Next Day »
Reading through the Gospel of John recently, these words from Jesus to His disciples stood out. He spoke these words at the Passover, just before He was arrested. In His parting words, Jesus commands us to love one another. It is not a request. It is not optional. It is not recommended guidance. It is not best practice. It is a command. We must do it.
Yet we still have to choose to do it, because God gave us free will to make choices. This is where we can choose to bend our thoughts, our feelings, our words, and our actions, to conform to His command to love one another. He did not say that would be easy, but, thankfully, He did tell His disciples how to do this.
He said: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Easy! We just copy Jesus. We love others in just the same way as He loves us. We love others according to what Jesus modelled to us in Scripture and how He relates with us personally. 1 Corinthians 13 shows us what love is. Sometimes we are encouraged to read that passage putting Jesus’ name where it reads, ‘love’. It is very powerful and true. But, He commands me to love others in the same way.
He forgives me. I forgive others. He is patient with me. I am patient with others. He is not proud. I am not proud. He is not rude. I am not rude. He does not boast. I don’t either. He keeps no record of wrongs about me. Neither do I keep a record of wrongs about anyone else. He delights in the truth. So do I, or I try – but sometimes I know I only share a partial truth and am covering up something. He is not easily angered. Me too. I never get irritated or angry and certainly don’t express those feelings in ways that damage rather than help …
In reality, most of us are still learning how to not be easily angered. He always trusts me. He does? He takes that risk with me? Do I always trust others? The truth is that we all are on a journey to learn to love one another. But we are learning from Jesus, who is love personified.
Jesus also tells us what will happen as a result of us loving one another: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So, it is by how we relate to one another within the Body of Christ that those who do not know Jesus yet recognise that we are His followers. And that is how they see Him. It is not by how we love Him, but by how we love one another that Jesus will be made visible.
So how do we apply this? I love how 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 ends with: ‘But the greatest of these is love’, and Chapter 14 begins with: ‘Follow the way of love …’ (pursue love). Let’s do that - one moment at a time.
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