1 John 2:3-11
In the process of building a house, the most important thing is a stable foundation. Without a proper foundation, no other part of the house can stand strong and withstand adverse weather conditions. The same is true for the life of a believer. The believer’s foundation is in loving the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds and in loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-38). God requires obedience to Him and His commandments if we want to have an intimate relationship with Him and see that relationship grow deeper and deeper so He manifests more of Himself to us. Obedience is the prerequisite of fellowship with God.
Fellowship with God leads to a greater experience of God. To experience more of God in this way, we must first understand the commandment of love. Love is the decision to compassionately, righteously, and responsibly seek the well-being of another. It is not first an emotion but rather a conscious decision with the resolution to love even our enemies, which God calls us to do. It should be normal for us to be a people of love, seeking the well-being of others in God’s name. As we love others, God will reveal Himself to us. If we do not love others well, God’s presence will not be made manifest to us.
God makes it clear that fellowship is a family affair. Think about love within a nuclear family. Parents desire for their children to love their siblings because that best reflects an outward display of the inner love the parents express towards each other. Similarly, how we operate within the family of God matters to the head of the family, which is the Father. We are living in darkness when we fail to love our brothers and sisters in Christ because God is light and requires us to love to fellowship with Him. If we are operating in hate, we will not experience the presence of God in our day-to-day living. Without God’s light, we are also more likely to stumble and be defeated by the enemy. If we want God to operate for us, in us, and through us, we must live in the light – and this also means we must obey His command to love.
- What are some ways love is displayed to others in our world today?
- How is God’s definition of love different from the world’s definition of love?
Let’s Get Personal
- Do you find it difficult to obey the commandment of God to love Him and your neighbor?
- How do you express love to your loved ones?
- How do you express love to your enemies? What is most challenging for you?
Take the Next Step
- Are you lovingly engaging with others? If so, how are you seeing God’s presence manifest in your daily life? If you are not, how can you start obeying the Lord by loving others?
- How can you encourage someone who is not engaging with others in love according to God’s command? How can you draw them towards God’s presence with your testimony?
- Want to go deeper? Take time to look at the following passages: Jeremiah 19:18; Romans 14:1-23; Romans 12:9-10; Romans 13:8-10; John 14:7-9; John 14:21-23; John 15:1-16; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; John 13:34-35.
Renew Your Mind
“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”
1 John 2:7