October 4, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"All men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
God is the source of love. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). How can we think of the love of God apart from John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." God's love is "unconditional love." We cannot qualify for it, we cannot earn it, nor do we deserve it. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
As a Christian, how have you responded to such infinite love? If we are honest, we would have to admit that the greater majority of Christians have responded passively. Many have accepted God's love and received Christ as their Savior, but there has been little, if any, real growth in grace. Look into your own life and ask yourself, "What effect has His love had on how I live? Has my life style had a radical change...my priorities, my desires, in every phase of my life?" Jesus said to His disciples, "As I have loved you, so must you love one another" (John 13:35).
This is not a casual request, but a direct statement by Christ. It is not for us to debate, to consider at our leisure, or discuss. It was a command given to all who would follow Him as a "disciple." The first and greatest commandment was..."Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). What hinders us from making this a reality in our lives with unreserved commitment?
I think first of all, Christ is not THE PRIORITY of our life. We have self-interests..."things" have a prior concern...and we are not constrained or motivated by the love of God. You might say, "I struggle with this. How can Christ be THE PRIORITY of my life that finds expression in every phase of my life?" We all struggle with this because of the constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit.
Secondly, Paul said, we need to "mortify, put to death, the fleshly desires of our lusts and carnal nature" (Romans 8:12-15). John tells us..."If anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him" (1 John 2:5). To have a disciple's love, it is imperative to turn over to God the authority to control our life. He must be the "Lord of All." He must be sovereign in our life. Then, the Holy Spirit will have free and full control, giving to us the strength and power that "in all things we may be more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).
Being a disciple is a struggle, a battle, a warfare against Satan himself, and it is only as we recognize our enemy and appropriate for ourselves the full armor of God that we can stand triumphantly against our powerful foe (Ephesians 6:10-18). Are you ready for the challenge? Are you committed to be a disciple of Christ, to follow Him without reservation, surrendering to Him the control of you life?
This is the will and purpose of God for your life. Only as we let HIM LIVE HIS LIFE through us, can we glorify HIM and magnify HIS NAME. The challenge is yours!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-10-04
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