Devotion: Monday, May 20, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from John 13:34-35, where Jesus says,   

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

A NEW COMMAND? BETTER, A NEW OPPORTUNITY!

A new command? It sounds like the oldest command on the books. Love one another? Isn’t that what everybody tells us to do? Yes, and no. Love is probably the most misunderstood, misused word in the English language. Everyone says that they know what love means. They confidently assert that they know what they are trying to do when they are seeking to “love another.” Unfortunately, the truth of what really is happening in the name of love is often much different, even when we have the best intentions. In fact, life seems to be an unending litany of people using and mistreating each other all in the name of love. All of us tend to do what is in our best interest and not the interests of those whom we say we love. So, what is in this new command that will help us? What is unique about Jesus’ words that actually turn His “new command” not just into another thing we can’t do, but a “new opportunity,” a new way that we can live life abundantly?

It’s in the words, “As I have loved you!” That’s what makes this love different than any other discussion about love. It’s about how Jesus loves. It’s about Jesus making His love available to us, and then available to others through us. You see, we are the kind of people who all too often seek to love others the way that we want to love them. That’s why our efforts at love and kindness fail. Yet it’s not that love fails; it’s that we fail love. Here in this lesson, the embodiment of love, Jesus the Messiah, is telling us straight. Yes, love matters, but it is the love that He brings, that He embodies, that He makes available to humanity. We are to receive and share love ON HIS TERMS. That’s real love in action. That’s love that lasts. That love keeps on loving even when our best efforts fail. Jesus gives His disciples both a new command and a new opportunity. He says that they can love…you and I can love too…when we receive His love as the gift that it is by grace through faith. And when we have shared in His love as the gift that it is, His love empowers us to give it away to others IN HIS NAME.

1 Corinthians 13 is often called the “love chapter” in the Bible. It says things like, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…it is not proud….Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Yes! Unfortunately, people often read this and forget the most important part. This is the LOVE that God embodied for you in Jesus Christ. It is HIS love. Only when we receive His love as a gift by faith can we begin to truly share it with others. Our love on our terms will always fails in the end. This love in Christ? It never fails. That’s why it’s not just a new command; it’s a new opportunity for you and for those whom you wish to love.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to see the uniqueness of Your love in all of its truth and power. Help us to receive and to share it as the gift that it is. AMEN.

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