TO CHEW ON: "And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another." 2 John 5
When I first posted this devo three years ago (it is a re-post) we were in the middle of our annual church conference. One night visiting speaker Joel A'Bell (Hillsongs Church, Australia) talked about loving each other. He said something like, "We want deep teaching, to know what the colors of the priest's robes mean. But we don't obey Jesus' most basic commands to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbour as ourselves - Mark 12:29-31."
"Have you ever thought about what it means to love God this way?" he asked. He went on to explain how we love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Here are some of his thoughts (via my scribbled notes):
- Loving God with all my heart means having a heart to let go.
"We struggle when there's more in our heart than Jesus."
- Loving God with all my soul means to go slow.
"We're speedy; make decisions quickly, we're too fast on the inside, don't take time to think, meditate, pray."
- Loving God with all my mind is having a mind to change (i.e. repent).
"Maturity is evidenced by the decreasing time gap between the challenge to change and the actual obedience."
- Loving God with all my strength is endurance.
An example he gave of this is our tendency to become familiar with the things of God so they no longer move us. The person that loves with strength pulls his/her mind back to focus on the truths of God's word, the lyrics of the familiar worship song etc. and does "not give in to the weakness of familiarity."
Loving God this way will make us ever more convinced and sure and secure in God's love for us. The natural outflow of such love is for us to love others. I like how Leslynn Musch puts it in her Truth-In-Action in 2 John article: "If we are truly loved, then that love should affect the way we love others. Love others as Jesus has loved you" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1795.
PRAYER: Dear God, I know I often fall short of loving You with my heart, soul, mind, and strength and so it is no wonder my relationships with others are tainted by insecurity, fear, comparison, and competition etc. Please help me to bask in Your love, love You back, and from that loop, to love my Christian family and the world. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.