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We embody God's love as we love each other

August 13, 2022
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Daily Scripture

1 John 4:7-12

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. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

As John wrote about the relationships God wants Christians to have with one another, he likely remembered where he and Jesus’ other disciples began. They competed with one another for position and recognition, and got angry with each other if one person’s efforts seemed to be gaining the upper hand (cf. Mark 10:35-45). John knew from his own experience that loving others with Jesus’ love doesn’t just spring naturally from warm human feelings. It goes much deeper than just being “nice.” The ultimate source of this kind of active agape love is not us at all, but the eternally loving heart of God. The God of the universe loves us, and that is the reason we are committed to living with one another in love. (We’ve been sharing ideas all week about how you can make that commitment. Click here if you want to check them out.)

  • An unknown humorist wrote, “To live above with saints we love—ah, that will be glory! To live below with saints we know—well, that’s another story.” But John (and the other Bible writers) said that, in Christ, we need to grow beyond that very human kind of skepticism toward others. Which people, inside or beyond the church, do you find it hardest to love? Read and pray through this passage, plugging in their names and faces. Ask God to help you live out God’s love even toward them. Why did John bother to say, “No one has ever seen God” (verse 12)? He went on to say, “If we love each other, God remains in us.” In other words, when we’re getting it right, people can see God in us. It’s like the line in Gordon Jensen’s song that says, “You’re the only Jesus some will ever see.” * As your capacity grows to take in God’s love, to see yourself as loveable in God’s sight, how is this changing the way you see and relate to others?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, let the people with whom I come in contact—yes, even the bored store clerk or the annoying neighbor—see you and your love in me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Wendy Lyons Chrostek

Wendy Lyons Chrostek

Wendy serves as the Location Pastor for Resurrection Leawood in the greater Kansas City metro area.

We recently took a walk to the creek in our neighborhood. Well, it’s not much of a creek right now because it’s been so dry, so Freddy’s favorite thing to do is to climb right into the creek. Unfortunately, on this particular day he didn’t choose the best footwear, grabbing his flip-flops on the way out of the house. As he was playing in the dirt he asked me, “Can I wear your shoes?” My initial reaction was, “What will I wear if you are wearing my shoes?” His answer? “Mine, of course.” So I squeezed my feet into his shoes, and I understood quite quickly why he wanted to wear mine. His weren’t the most conducive for traipsing around in the dirt.

There’s something incredible about literally putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes. You get to see things, experience things, understand things in a way that you might not otherwise be able to. Jesus came to be with us, put on flesh, lived as we lived, fully human, so that he might be able to experience our humanity, complete with all of our struggles and challenges. He knows what it is to live among us and love us completely.

When he invites us to love one another, we are invited to love as God loving through us-–to choose to enter the world and lives of those around us, doing our best to walk in their shoes and imagine what life might be like for them. While we might not know exactly what it is to experience someone else’s life, it does create a sacred space for empathy and compassion and love to grow. Put on someone else’s shoes for the day, literally or figuratively, and seek to know them and love them like Jesus loves us.

© 2022 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

Click here to hear Gordon Jensen sing “You’re the Only Jesus.”