Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are John 15:16-17, where Jesus says,
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.17 This is my command: Love each other.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE?
In All’s Well that Ends Well, William Shakespeare wrote, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” The Beatles remind us of the same idea in their song, “All You Need Is Love.” But is it really that easy? If love is all we need, if love alone matters, and if love works, then what’s the problem? Why are we as a country at each other’s throats? Why are divorce rates so high? Why are many people not even getting married at all? Why are children growing up in increasingly broken homes? Why aren’t people loving each other if that is all we need to do? Good question.
One of the problems today is our sinfully, flawed understanding of “love” and our unwillingness to accept that repentance and forgiveness are part of true love. More and more, people don’t seek to love others on God’s terms. They attempt to love others on their own terms. They love what they like. They give love back to those who satisfy or bring them pleasure. We are also immersed in a sinfully and self-centered culture which demands, “Love who I am and love what I do, whatever I do, and if you think what I do is wrong, or even if I know what I’m doing is wrong, love me anyway.” In fact, there’s an emptiness to any view of love without God, no matter how fervently we strive for it.
When Jesus gives us his command to “love each other,” He meant it on His terms. His love is a “self-sacrificing,” eternal love rooted in the very nature of God himself. God’s love is perfectly embodied in the person and work of Jesus Christ as our Savior. In 1st John 3:16, the Bible describes love this way: “This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” And the Christian is then called to love others the way that God in Christ loves us. What a way to live. What a way to love!
Think about what believers have at our disposal. We have God’s love in Christ as a gift received by grace through faith. We have a different motivation for how to live. We live and love others as Christ has loved us. We even have a different purpose or challenge for our lives. We seek to love others in order to show them that we are disciples of the very one who, out of love, lived, died, and rose again for us all. That love, in reality, is all we need.
The glorious Christian life then consists of reflecting Jesus’ love in ways that may not appear “glorious” on the surface. For example, it is mothers and fathers loving each other, loving and leading their children. It’s children honoring their parents. It’s neighbors helping neighbors. It’s rulers governing virtuously and honorably. It’s loving others with no regard for anything in return. Why? Because that’s how Jesus loves us. Imagine how things would change if such a love was unleashed anew in our lives, in our neighborhoods, and in our world. What a way to live and what a way to love, indeed and in deeds!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You calling me to repentance, for seeing my lack of love and my emptiness without You, so that I can be filled with Your love and life forever. Give me strength to avoid the temptation of trying to go it on my own. Instead, in Your love, make me into all You have created and redeemed me to be by grace through faith. AMEN.