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Love each other

January 11, 2024

Daily Scripture

John 15:12-17

12 This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 17 I give you these commandments so that you can love each other.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“I chose you,” Jesus told his disciples, “so that you could go and produce fruit.” At first glance, that might sound to us like a command from a domineering “boss,” who just values you for what you can produce. But Jesus prefaced that statement by telling his followers he didn’t call them servants, but friends. And the first and foremost “fruit” he asked them to produce was to live in God’s love and to love one another.

  • Read verses 12-15 of this passage again. If a project, team or workplace leader, or a pastor, told a group you were part of that, in that spirit, they’d chosen you to “bear fruit,” do you think you’d feel energized or frustrated? How might that kind of message affect your attitude and that of others on the team? How would it shape communication and cooperation as you moved forward?
  • Jesus also said, “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you.” “Wait,” you might think. “I clearly remember coming to Coffee with the Pastors, filling out the forms, reciting the Apostles’ Creed, choosing to join this church.” We do indeed choose Jesus—but we choose by responding to his loving call that first reached out to us. Are you thankful that God chose you to be part of God’s family?

Lord Jesus, we’re 2,000 years into your great human building project, and it’s still going. Help my life to bear the fruit of love, making your kingdom more real to people I care about. Amen.

GPS Insights

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell

Ginny Howell serves as the Worship Experience Director for Resurrection, leading the church’s efforts to provide radical hospitality and an excellent worship experience across all of our locations. She’s a mom to three, g-momma to one sweet little boy, and shares much of her time with her closest companion, a rescued Pit Bull named Lola.

Love is hard sometimes. Not just romantic love, but truly loving others in the moments and through the seasons when their actions may not make them super lovable. Harder yet is to find love for ourselves when we don’t feel loveable at all. In many ways, it can appear as if love is all around us, and for our younger generations who have grown up in a completely digital world, I imagine the pervasive images/messaging about what love should look like can be a challenging lens to get in just the right focus for a healthy outlook on life (and love).

After reading and rereading today’s Scripture, I wonder if it is love that is hard, or if it’s loving that’s the hard part. Love, the feeling, seems to reside within (most of) us, and is an emotion many would describe as central to their identity. Loving is different. Loving requires us to step out of our ideals and put those characteristics into action. I think that’s where we have the opportunity to really live into the commandment Jesus gave. 

Jesus didn’t say to love each other when we feel like it or when we know we’ll like what we get in return. “Love each other just as I have loved you” is profoundly different. It requires we examine the ways Jesus loved–his care for the poor, sick and marginalized people. It requires us to look at how Jesus was in relationship with others, including (and I would say especially) those society frowned upon. Jesus makes the point here also that he is not speaking as a master to a servant, but as friend to friend–for the good of us all and the unending fruit-bearing that this commandment can bring about when we all love each other well.

When recently making a big life decision, one impacting the people I love the most, those I would lay my life down for, I struggled to see a clear path forward and honestly felt paralyzed. I could see multiple scenarios playing out in my head. What felt like the safest thing to do in this situation also felt like the least loving way to move forward. After days, even weeks, of teetering back and forth around this big decision I had to make, I eventually took the WWJD approach. What would Jesus do? Jesus would include everyone. What would Jesus do? Jesus would see the best in people, and care for those who can’t care for themselves. What would Jesus do? Jesus would embrace those he knew denied/betrayed him. So that’s what I did–took what I viewed to be the most loving way forward, the Jesus way. This path has not been without its challenges, but I can see the fruit it is bearing. I’m confident that simply following Jesus’ commandment to love others as he has loved me has once again been the right roadmap to how I want to be loving in this world.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.