May 31
‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’ John 15:12
Bible reading: Matthew 5:43-48 (Go to the Bible passage)
The Bible says we must love our neighbors, but it does not say anywhere we should hate our enemies! How strange it is that it goes without saying for us to add thoughts like these. Another example: many people also assume that the Bible says, pray and work (ora et labora). Of course this is a nice thought, but often it is used as a word of God, usually to make the point that prayer should be less important than work. But the Bible makes it clear to us that all our work for Him only has real meaning through prayer.
And so we tamper with the commandment of love too. Oh, we are willing to love our neighbors, if only we get to decide who our neighbors should be. But Jesus tells us that we are to make neighbors of our enemies by loving them, and to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).
Jesus knows very well what He asks us to do, for He Himself has set an example. And those who follow His holy example in submission and obedience, will be called children of the heavenly Father. No, do not say now, ‘But we will never be able to follow His example’, for it is written (1 Peter 2:21) that He has prepared the way for us, not only as our example, but - more importantly - as our Redeemer! He died for all our sins on the cross of Golgotha to give us free access to the Father.
Being a Christian does not mean ‘doing our best to live as humanely as possible’ and then tell people that - in spite of frequent failing - we did it all for Christ’s sake. No, a Christian is someone who genuinely desires to live by the power of the Holy Spirit as a born-again person, in the same dependence on the Father as Jesus, Who is our example.
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