Yesterday I decided to get out of the house for a while despite the pain, since sitting in the house was beginning to drive me mad. Mum and I went for coffee yesterday and afterwards were browsing around the books in the shop when a man noticed I was struggling to lift a book off a shelf. He therefore approached me and helped me with this book. I’m going to call this man ‘Joe’ for confidentiality purposes and also because it makes writing a lot easier for me. Joe and I started chatting about the author of the book, Francis Chan, afterwards with Joe noticing my useless arms he asked me what had happened. Sometimes when I get repeatedly asked what is wrong when someone see’s a wheelchair and my arms it can get quite upsetting as many times people ask out of noisiness. However this man was really genuine and therefore I briefly told Joe my story which in turn leaded to him buying me the book as he said my story really done is heart good. Anyway, Joe really challenged me yesterday by his kindness to me, a total stranger, and it made me think of the verse is John 13:-
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” John 13:34
This command by Jesus to love others is not a feeling, it’s a lifestyle, a way of living, a deliberate act of love and kindness to each other. God had used Joe to remind me of this vital commandment to love and I’m ashamed to admit that this isn’t something I do as often as I should. In fact the whole world is lacking in love; as humans we are wired to ourselves, to be obsorbed in ourselves and all things selfish. However as Christians we are made new, born again with Jesus who IS love and when we remember how much Jesus loves us, that He died for our sins whilst we were still sinners, it makes me realise I must try my hardest to love others just as Jesus has loved me. Scripture tells us ‘whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.’ 1 John 4:16. I love this passage of scripture as it challenges me more and more to LOVE as loving God and hating a person cannot work together. As humans we do still mess up, we do sin and sometimes it can feel very difficult to love all people; but the wonderful thing is we are not alone, we wouldn’t be able to love others and treating them as we would want to be treated without God. However thankfully 1 John 4 shows us all that our call to love can be made possible with God working in us.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:11-12.
When Joe bought this book for me I was challenged and reminded that I must love more often and not just the occasional time every now and then. Loving others as I would want to be treated, a love perfected by God, and love that is biblical. I love God with all my heart therefore I must make loving others a daily thing, love should be my lifestyle otherwise I can’t fully love God without loving others. Joe made me realise it was time for a shake up in my life, I had become lazy thinking I couldn’t do things for others since I was always having operations or in hospital or housebound. However none of this means I should be living selfishly without loving others with my whole heart and consequently I knew things had to change, to love others as much as I love Jesus. I prayed to God, thanking Him for my encounter with Joe and how God had challenged me through that and I began to ask God what can I do to show love to others. This is when I realised loving others requires acts of love. RC Sproul states:-
“In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action.”
RC Sproul describes the love we must have for others perfectly, it’s our acts of love and the genuine meaning of our acts which matters rather than actually feeling love for every single person we meet. The bible describes so many ways in which we should love one another, for example we are told to:
– Honour each other above ourselves with a genuine brotherly affection (Romans 12:9-10)
– Encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
– Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
– Have fellowship with others (1 John 1:7)
– Be in unity (Romans 15:5)
– Have concern for others (1 Corinthians 12:25)
– Hospitality towards others (1 Peter 4:9)
– Be at peace with each other (Mark 9:50)
– Be humble, gentle and patient to one another (Ephesians 4:2)
This is not an exhaustive list, there are SO MANY other acts of love we can show to each other and I think love is such an important part of our lives. Although not only this but it is also important that we do all these things for the right reasons. There is no point living a lifestyle of love if we do it for our own selfish gain. Philippians 2:3 reminds us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider each other better than yourselves.” It is vital that as we love others we are doing genuine acts of love, being humble and putting one another and their needs before our own. I praise God for the challenge to love others, I pray and ask God to help me perfect love and to do these acts of love for the right reasons; to love others and to glorify God.
“In biblical thinking, genuine love exists only when good works are done in a context where God rather than the doer gets the credit.” Daniel Fuller.
I hope that you all are encouraged to love one another as Joe showed to me. I thank Joe for his act of love which has challenged me to live a lifestyle of love. Remember everyone our calling to love. God bless, Carla xxx