Today I’m welcoming my friend Wendy Blight to share from her new Bible study on 1 John, I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love. Plus she’s giving away a copy of her book and the accompanying bible study DVD to one of my readers!
In 1 John 3:16, John tells us to love one another.
Easy to say but, oh, so hard to do. Yet God clearly calls us to this. Why?
Because God knows there are people in this world who’ll never walk through the doors of a church, join a neighborhood Bible study, or attend a Christian conference. But, they will encounter His people, women like you and me. And through us they’ll experience God’s love. His beautiful, pure, unconditional love.
And, the great thing about God is that He never commands us to do something without showing us how to do it. Loving others is no different. He gives us the purest example of this kind of love in Jesus.
God defines love, not so much by words, but by the cross. In Jesus, love found its way to the cross. There, at Golgotha, outside Jerusalem’s city gate, Jesus willingly surrendered His life for ours. Jesus’ intentional act to surrender His will to the will of His Father erased, eradicated, and expunged your sin and mine forever.
But God didn’t stop there; He raised Jesus on the third day. Your hope and mine is wrapped up in that resurrection. The Resurrection opened the way for the very Spirit and presence of God to indwell our hearts. The fruit of God’s Spirit, including His love, lives and breathes in us.
However, it’s our choice whether we live in the fullness of that love.
Let’s be honest. It’s really hard to love others with that kind of love. Complicated relationships, past history, hurt feelings, and our own sinful desires make it difficult to love others the way God does.
But, God isn’t asking the impossible (though every now and then if feels that way). He simply asks us to live out His sacrificial love right where we are. During our ordinary days in very ordinary ways.
Our sacrifices won’t usually be headline making. They won’t be dramatic. Many times, they won’t even be recognized by most people.
We find them in the routine, often trying, occasionally boring, and relatively uneventful activities of everyday life. Like when you let someone else go ahead of you in line. You intentionally engage your server in a conversation. You offer to take a cart back into the grocery store. Or you refrain from gestures, evil looks or honking the horn when someone cuts you off in traffic.
Now, let me be real, I do like when people notice my sacrificial acts of love. It makes me feel good. In fact, I’m sure we all love words of affirmation because they edify and encourage us to keep on keepin’ on. But that attention is not what should motivate our love.
Jesus said in John 13:35, people will know us as His disciples if we love one another. So, how can we live out God’s love?
To live a life of love, we must know and believe God loves us fully, perfectly, completely. We cannot love others until we know and believe this truth. Jesus manifested His love for us through the greatest sacrifice of all. He gave His Son’s life for ours.
It’s when we walk fully in God’s love that we are able to love others out of the abundance of God’s love that indwells us. It’s called living loved.
Jesus modeled it best. Living loved manifests itself best in sacrificial action. You may think you don’t have much to give. But, friend, you do. You can speak words of encouragement. You can pray. You can forgive. You can serve.
To live loved, we just need to break out of our routine. Invite God to open our eyes to see how we can love someone God brings across our path. Here are examples of small acts of love we can do today.
• A smile
• An encouraging word
• A listening ear
• A physical touch
• Treat a friend to lunch
• Remember the names of the servers at the businesses you frequent
• Text, e-mail or call a friend with a prayer or Scripture
• Bring a meal to a single parent, a new mom, or a family in need
• Support a missionary
• Write an encouraging note to your pastor
I remember the day doctors diagnosed my 13-year-old daughter with scoliosis (curvature of the spine). They explained she would need to wear a back brace for 23 hours a day. It meant no more competitive cheerleading. No more school cheerleading. We sat there stunned. Not the news we expected. We rode home in near silence. When we got home, Lauren ran to her room, tears streaming down her face.
I heard a knock and opened the door to find one of my best friends standing there, tears filling her eyes. She didn’t come armed with verses or wisdom or gifts. She simply came. I will never ever forget that moment. She dropped everything to come. To sit. To be.
That is love.
Where is God calling you to sacrificially give?
Imagine our world if we all made these expressions of love the pattern of our lives.
I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love is for every woman who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in, and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love because His love truly changes everything. Watch a sneak peek of the Bible study and download a sample week’s lesson for free here.
Comment on the blog today sharing one way you will try to love someone God brings across your path this week. One reader will win a copy of Wendy’s I Am Loved Bible study book and teaching DVD. U.S. Addresses only please.
Last Month’s Giveaway Winner: The randomly selected winner of the Tracie Miles’ 6 books and study guides holiday gift pack was De, who has been notified via email. Congrats De! Thanks to everyone who participated!