John 15:9-17 - (Jesus said) "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Here Jesus talks to us about love.
Have you ever been urged—or instructed in a spirited sort of way—to love someone? Maybe it was your mom telling you to get along with an annoying brother or sister. Maybe it was your spouse appealing to your better side to be more patient with an exasperating teenage son or daughter.
Is love a thing we can just turn on when requested?
It seems we often need a reason to love in such circumstances. And for it to be any kind of motivating factor, the reason needs to be pretty compelling.
Look at how Jesus talks about love: "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love." As the Father has loved Me ... that's where Jesus starts—not with His view of what He thinks about someone else—but as He has been loved—and by extension, how we have been loved, too. It has nothing to do with feelings or if the other person merits our love. It's about how God has already loved us through His Son Jesus.
With this in mind, it looks like our grudges might be the first thing to go out the window.
This "love one another" stuff can be hard, can't it?—especially when we feel we own the high ground. But if our high ground has a flag stuck in it that says, "I won't budge!" then we might need to rethink how close we're following the Savior's instruction to love.
Without a doubt, trying to muster up love for someone who's hurt us can be a futile exercise, that is, before turning it over to Jesus. He's the Victor who's proven His love at the greatest price possible. This is Jesus, remember. This is the One who endured mistreatment from peasant and priest alike. This is the One who bore the suffocating weight of our sins, died with them on His back, and then rose three days later—in complete victory!
This is Jesus—God's Son, our Savior, our Friend—the One who tells us to love one another.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may we love others as You have loved us in Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Has there been a most-difficult person for you to love in your life? (No need to answer aloud.) How's that working for you these days?
2. Jesus says so much in this passage. What speaks to you the most?
3. When was the last time you knew it was time to "love one another"?
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