January 16 I Sunday
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” —John 13:34
When the Pharisees heard that the teachings of Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they got together, and one of them, an expert in the Law of Moses, tested Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He then added, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).
The Christian life does not only involve coming in humble repentance to Christ, accepting Him as Saviour, receiving forgiveness and going to heaven. This is wonderfully true, but the Christian life is more about devoutness to our relationship with Christ and our relationship with others. When Jesus said, “Love your neighbour,” He was talking of anyone who is in need. To be devout in our relationship with God, we cannot idly let go of an opportunity for worthy deeds. We are to be benevolent and gracious as Jesus was to all He served. Be meek, not arrogant, and do not be obstinate or quarrelsome but be affable to all.
Paul writes, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Spiritual gifts are those abilities unique to each of us, which God has given for the purpose of bringing blessing and benefit to others. Some have the gift of teaching, others of song, healing, prophesy or wisdom. There are many gifts the Holy Spirit gives and Paul tells us, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). This is about loving our neighbour.
Our relationship to God is not seen in regular attendance at church, or in having our theology down pat, but is seen in how we treat others. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Loving one another is not always easy, but when the love of God fills our hearts, His Spirit within us enables us to see each person with compassion, and we are genuinely moved to give to those who ask whenever and wherever we can.
To the sorrowing give comfort. To the offender give forgiveness. Do not envy anyone, but wish well to all. Serve everyone as much as we are able and be willing to labour. Always speak the truth and do not boast. Do not proclaim everything we know, but only that which should be proclaimed. Be devout. Trust in God and love Him with all our heart.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am greatly humbled by how You lived Your life on earth. You are my inspiration, and I pray for a work of Your Spirit to reflect Your goodness in me.