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Lovingly living the answer to Jesus' prayer

August 25, 2022

Daily Scripture

John 17:15-23, 1 John 4:7-11

John 17

15 I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth.
20 “I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. 21 I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.

1 John 4

7 Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other.

1 Corinthians 12

24 …But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25 so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The apostle John said God didn’t just love us. God IS love, and that’s why we can love one another. In John 17, Jesus didn’t pray that his followers would triumph over one another, but over the human urge to be right rather than loving: “I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” New Christians in Corinth, in a Greek culture that saw valuing others as a weak spot, struggled with each other. The apostle Paul taught them that love linked them as “the body of Christ” in real life.

  • Paul said, “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” That is what we mean when we use the churchy-sounding word “fellowship.” When have you been part of a group, in church, school, work or elsewhere, where this kind of love and mutual caring existed? Have you ever suffered from belonging to groups where love and mutual caring were conspicuously absent?
  • History says the ancient Greeks saw humility and caring in relation to others as a weakness, not a virtue. Would you say our culture’s values are different? Think of the attitudes you see in films, music, politics or sports—in what ways (down deep) are we still a lot like the ancient Greeks? How easy or hard do you find it to truly celebrate with someone else who is receiving praise, or to share another person’s pain?

Lord Jesus, grow in me the love and humility that will allow my gifts and abilities to honestly bless others and build your kingdom, not my own. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of  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.

A few years ago, I found myself in a place I never imagined I would be. As a mom of three teen/college aged daughters, I was just a few months out from a divorce and learning to navigate life as a single mom. While I thought I had an idea of the struggles single parents faced, I learned much more once I was walking in those shoes. Managing new economics, juggling schedules with the other parent and picking up all the household tasks by myself was all far more stressful than I was really prepared for.

Then unexpectedly, the girls’ father passed away. In the midst of redefining my identity as a single parent, I was thrust into the role of being the only parent. The challenges I had been feeling were amplified beyond measure. Our world had been turned entirely upside down.

I learned so much about what Christian community really looks like in the next weeks and months and even years. Often, people would ask me how I was doing it all, and my response was always the same, “I’m not.” Through all the challenges that situation presented us with, God provided, and people showed up. After the funeral, I was asked by the pastor how everyone was doing and with tears in my eyes all I could say was, “God is taking care of us. In so many ways and through so many people, God is taking care of us.” There was nothing more to say.

As I read these words in John, I am reminded of a refrigerator note I left for my daughters early one morning just a few weeks later. I was going in for some minor surgery which felt much more major with all we had been through to that point. The surgery had a very low risk of complications, but the thought of my own mortality choked me up a bit as I pondered what mattered the most to say in this note. After a few logistics about when I’d be back and who needed to feed the dog, the words I left them with were, “Love each other well.” Everything else in life could have (and had already) fallen apart, but if we could remember to love each other well, none of the rest of those things could break us.

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