Thought for the Week - 15th NovemberPastor Gareth Watkins
John 15: 12-14
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command.
1 Timothy 1:5 – 6
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart
and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.
John 13: 34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Word of Love
We need a deeper and greater of dying to self in the whole area that surrounds the word of love. Love has to be the very centre of who we are. It’s the love of God and the love of Christ that’s in us, the love of us for Christ, the love of His presence, the love of being in His will and His walk… out of that comes everything else that we do.
It’s out of that love that He has for us and we have for Him that comes the work on a Friday night, the work in Merthyr on the streets, or meeting people to speak and pray with them. It’s not something that we’d want to do ourselves. It’s out of the love that Christ has put into us and the love that Christ has shown towards us.
The core of our Church, and our very walk with God, has to be love. And it’s something we need to break on deeper.
This type of level of love is costly, it can be painful. It sees the “you” die a little bit more. “You” and “who you” are wants certain things, but the love that Christ has for you meant that He had to lay down His life. And this love of which I’m speaking may mean that you may need to lay down your life a little bit more, so that the love of God and the love of Christ can come through you a little bit more, and so you can interact with God and Christ a little bit more. The love that centres the very being of who we are.
In the verses above, Christ commanded that we love one another. That’s a big thing for someone who doesn’t want to love. Sometimes it’s easier not to love and stand alone, so you don’t get hurt. Selfishness can appear and some rebellion can emerge against God, because we don’t want to get hurt. But Christ commanded that we love, as He has loved. We need to establish it firmly, so that our work is the centre of our work, not the work for its own sake.
This whole nation is desperate for this love! They don’t see it, they don’t feel it and they’re getting further and further away, wrapped in their own misery. But we are being called to love one another. Not just our friends, family and the people we like!
It’s easy for us to stray in this regard and engage in “idle chatter” as discussed in Timothy. Some people have turned aside from that love and now just talk about love. That talking produces its own fruit – not a Godly fruit, it’s a chatter that can unsettle the person, the people around them, and even a whole church. The commandment to love one another can actually unsettle us because, in some ways, we don’t want to do it! For example, when something for God is hard work, the pressure of “doing” detracts from the fact that we’re actually doing it out of a love for Christ. We should be doing these things out of love.
If you’re feeling out on a limb in these areas, then you need to be bringing yourself back in line with God and say to Him “God, I want to love these people – I want to love you”. Acknowledge that you’re feeling out of that love, that you’re frightened of being hurt. They hurt Christ! And if it happened to Him, maybe we should expect it to happen to us. But oh, what a blessing and the glory that covers it is far better than that pain, which lasts an instant. The eternity that follows it, lasts far longer than that moment of pain, that upset of allowing someone into your zone and then they hurt you. The blessing that comes from it, that relationship and union with God, far supersedes this moment where you have to be undone a little bit.
If God is speaking to you about this as you’re reading, start doing something about it.
Love is a fruit that is a characteristic of your being. If you have a fruit tree, you can’t just plant it and expect good fruit. You need to plant it firmly in good ground. You need to ensure the roots are properly dispersed. You have to make sure it’s trimmed, nurtured and clipped properly. And then you might find nice fruit. You have to look after that fruit tree every single year.
Love doesn’t come overnight. We need to lower our barriers to allow it to grow. Love being birthed as part of our character, takes time. It can be a painful process and hard to grow good fruit.
God wants us to develop by way of the gifts of the spirit, and to do so we need a good character in God! Gifts need to be supported by the character that sustains it. This will take time and will need deliberate cultivation.
Examples of non-love:
- Not praying for anyone else – God wants you to feel attached to people and praying for them!
- Not being hospitable.
- Not giving collection – A collection isn’t for a church, but a giving to God.
- Not willing to bear someone else’s burdens.
- Multiplying idle talk – Christ has called you to love unconditionally!
Examples of love:
- Not praying selfishly, rather praying for those around me.
- Being hospitable – inviting new people into your life and opening those barriers. Being generous.
- Bearing other people’s burdens and help with other people’s circumstances.
In this love is God’s blessing for us!
In John 13:34 Christ says “as I have loved you”. How has He loved us? He loved us unto death! What love! How much love and forgiving is there!
In John 15:12-13 Christ says He would lay down His life for His friends! But what about us? Sometimes we won’t inconvenience ourselves on something small to do something for Him.
Look at Christ’s life and look at the love He showed! He fed the 5,000, didn’t condemn the woman at the well, and was a servant to His disciples. This son of God outworked this love to the people around Him!
Like those fruit trees we need adjusting from time-to-time so that we display good fruit. Do we display love as Christ was teaching it? Do we reveal this love that Christ is teaching us? Where are we inside regarding this word of love?
Our character, which is fashioned in God, will last into eternity, and will be judged.