Welcome to summer! School is done, the sun is brightly shining, temps are in the 80s, and the pool is officially open. Which is a great excuse for a new series here on the blog. 😉
I am excited for this new series, because over the next two months, you'll not only be learning about nine of the various "one anothers" found in the New Testament, but you'll be learning from our awesome Elder Team (Ed, Luke, Matt, & myself) and Sunday Team (Bridget, Jake, & Minette).
First up, I get the privilege to talk about one of the most famous of the "one anothers": Love One Another.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus gives us this famous verse:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."John 13:34-35 (ESV)
If you are familiar with the Bible, you probably skimmed that verse quickly, or even skipped it entirely. But if the Bible is new to you, you probably read it slowly, then thought "wait, that was a new commandment?"
Well... yes. But not the way you think.
Back in Leviticus (written more than 1400 years before Jesus uttered this "new" command), God instructed the Jewish people to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18) So if you are thinking Jesus' command was not "new" - you are sort of right. This idea of loving others had been around in Scripture for a millenium and a half.
What was new in Jesus' words was the next phrase. Re-read John 13:34 and notice the italicized phrase...
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."John 13:34 (ESV)
Previously, God told people to love others the way they love themselves or the way they themselves would like to be loved. But how do you do this on the days you don't like yourself or believe the lie that you aren't worthy of love? When your "love bucket" is empty, it's hard to love your neighbor as yourself.
But Jesus elevated it from loving others as you love yourself to loving others the way HE has loved us. And how did Jesus show His love for us? By putting us first and dying for our sins. His love wasn't based on His circumstances or present view of self (although He had the healthiest view of self of anyone ever). His love was truly others-focused.
When you "love one another" with this kind of sacrificial, others-focused, gospel-centered love, you'll discover your "love bucket" to be far deeper than you ever realized. And the people around you will be more drawn to you (and God!) than ever before.
So who can you love today, regardless of your present view of self?
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