This week, let’s examine the sacrificial love of God, seen in Jesus, as being the trademark of those who follow Him.
Monday – John 13.34-35. Jesus says in clear terms that the demonstration of sacrificial love in the manner of Jesus himself gives evidence of our being his followers. So, in addition to committee discussions focusing on such things as the master-plan for a church facility, or how the latest technology can be integrated into the ministry of the church, what if we asked another question of ourselves: How can the sacrificial love of Jesus live in the way we treat each other? How might such a discussion help us live more faithfully as individuals and as a faith community? Today, how can you act in the best interest of someone who God loves?
Tuesday – 1 Corinthians 13.1-7. Here, Paul is describing how essential Godly, sacrificial love (Greek, ‘agape’) is to bearing witness of Christ. “We should always remember that love is the highest gift of God. There is nothing higher in religion. If you are looking for anything else, you are looking wide of the mark. Settle in your heart that from this moment on, you will aim at nothing more than the love described in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. You can go no higher than this” (John Wesley, Devotional Classics). Would you pray today that the trademark of your life and our life together as a faith community will increasingly be the sacrificial love of God, a love that always acts in the best interest of the beloved?
Wednesday – 1 John 4.9-12. In order to love our neighbor, we must see that God is the cause of our love. Bernard of Clairvaux, in the tenth century, stated that to get beyond merely loving ourselves, we must see God as the one who created us and protects us. Spend time today reflecting on your own birth, noting how you did not create yourself. Also, reflect on how your life is a gift, that even your continued existence is not your own doing.
Thursday – 1 John 4.7-8. It’s so easy to forget that the centrality of love is the heart of the gospel, and the prime motivation of our lives. Richard Foster writes in Devotional Classics: “We so easily elevate other things to the place of first importance: our big church budgets and impressive buildings, our dedicated service to the world, our doctrinal eccentricities. Here, the Apostle John cuts through all our ego-strutting activity and calls us again to love God with purity of heart, in certainty of soul, in holiness of life.” What is your prime motivation in your relationships?
Friday – Hebrews 8.6-13. At what point in life did you first feel the joy of serving God? This passage tells us that a new covenant has been established by Jesus, one that transforms service from a duty to a desire. How is your transformation going? Are you increasingly growing in awareness of God’s love for you? Are you serving God out of a sense of joyful desire more than serving from mere duty? Pray for the increase of desire and joy as you serve God in serving others.
Saturday – Psalm 139.1-10. In addition to these opening verses, slowly read aloud this entire psalm. Let yourself enjoy this marvelous song of the glory of creation, of God’s miraculous love and our miraculous existence. This will help you focus on the God whose love reaches into the farthest regions of our hearts. Pray today for someone who needs to be aware of God’s love for them. How can you be an encourager, a reminder of the Good News to that person? Take that step.
Posted on Sun, January 22, 2017
by Cheryl Sherrick