Love One Another – Definitions

the-fruit-of-the-spirit-love

Love = Agape. Unconditional, divine love is that summed up by 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[a] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[b] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Biblical Love is a decision. to righteously and compassionately seek the well being of another. Not necessarily based on emotion or ‘liking’ them. Agape love allows us to love our enemies.

Love is counting someone else’s needs and interests as more important than your own needs or interests or comfort.”

1 John 4:18 perfect love drives out fear.

the-fruit-of-the-spirit-opposite of love

 

the-fruit-of-the-spirit-love counterfeit

 

Serve One Another: Action

Take a moment to talk to God

  • Reflect on God’s transforming love and grace; consider the example of Jesus Christ our servant king.
  • Do you feel like a beloved child of God? A conqueror? A heir of God?  Ask God to reveal to you, your true identity.
  • On whose terms do you serve God? His or yours?
  • Who might He be calling you to serve today? Ask Holy Spirit to prompt and enable you when opportunities arise to serve one another.
  • Is there anything holding you back from accepting God’s call to serve Him and others?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I forget each day who I am in Christ and the grace that envelops my life. My love has limits because I don’t embrace the truth of who you have made me to be. Help me to live out the reality of being your beloved child so that my love for others flows out of this new identity. Let me be a bewildering servant to those around me as you dismantle the limits I have placed on my love. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Serve One Another: In the World

A church full of servants, serving for the right reason will be a dynamic and transformational place.

Everybody wants a revolution, but no-one wants to do the dishes

April 06, 2016/ Craig Greenfield

Social justice is cool.

Talking about loving the poor and oppressed is super cool.

Maybe you’ve got a shelf FULL of the latest books by social justice crusaders. Maybe you’ve been to The Justice Conference. Maybe you’ve shared that Francis Chan video on Facebook – or Tony Campolo or Shane Claiborne – and spoken a silent Yes! – that guy is speaking my language. Click like. Retweet.

Me too.

But honestly, the daily grind of loving my impoverished neighbors is a LOT less fun and cool.

Everybody wants a revolution. But no-one wants to do the dishes.

Vintage couple dish washing together

Honey, washing these plates gets me thinking’ about solidarity, resistance and liberation. How about you?

Frankly, I love the idea of justice much more than the practice.

Or as Mother Teresa puts it, “Today, it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not so fashionable to talk with them.”

I’m convinced this is why we tend to ROMANTICIZE poor people who are geographically distant – those living in a war-torn African nation, or folks in an Asian slum – while we DEMONIZE the very poorest on our own doorsteps.

It’s a clever mental strategy for keeping them at arms length, while maintaining our identity as someone who cares about justice.

I’m back in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside for a few weeks. It’s Canada’s poorest postal code and it’s the place I called home for 6 years. The UN describes this neighborhood as “a two-kilometre square stretch of decaying rooming houses, seedy strip bars and shady pawn shops.”

It’s the kind of edgy place that youth groups come for short term mission trips during Spring Break. But doing justice takes more than a few days. It takes a lifetime commitment to costly and boring, ordinary love.

It means taking up your cross daily.

We started an intentional Christian community here in inner city Vancouver almost a decade ago, and there are folks in the neighborhood who have been living here a lot longer than that. Their faithfulness, their stability, their rootedness is a beautiful testimony and challenge to me.

When we started opening up our home here for homeless friends to come for dinner, we wanted to be more than a soup kitchen or service provider. We wanted to be a community where people experience Jesus in everyday life together.

Jesus with skin on.

So, each night we invited folks to sit around the dinner table with these simple words: “If this is your first time here, welcome! You’re our guest. Sit back and relax. If this is your second time here welcome! You’re part of the family. And that means you have the privilege of helping with the clean up afterwards.”

After dinner, one of the kids would pull out a bunch of Popsicle sticks – each stick lovingly tagged with one of the many chores that would transform the kitchen and dining room back into spic and span condition.

If you were lucky you might get “stack chairs” – a simple 5 minute exercise.

The ones everyone avoided were “wash dishes” and “dry dishes”.  With up to 30 people eating, the dishes could take a while. So some genius added “wash dishes 2” and “dry dishes 2” – the sequels.  Sequels are never as good as the original but those original dishwashers sure appreciated the tap on the shoulder of someone willing to take over halfway through.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. We never shared it widely because we knew the Popsicle Game was fragile. But here’s the secret: our dishwasher has been in fine working order all these years.

We chose not to use it because we figured there’s something good and real about washing up together. It may not be a street protest. It may not be a war-torn refugee camp. But it’s real life.

Wherever two or three people gather in the name of soap suds and clean dishes, there is community in the midst.

There is Jesus, who figured that coming down and hanging out with us in the flesh was the best way to show his love.

So there we are – grappling with a soaking tea towel. Trying to wipe the suds off a million plates.  And all the while, carrying on a conversation about nothing and everything. That’s about as radical as it gets around here.

There is something you find in the kitchen, around the dinner table, and the shared cleaning up afterwards that you won’t find in a soup kitchen or a food line. You find family.

Everybody wants a revolution. But no-one wants to do the dishes.

But maybe we can change that one Popsicle stick at a time.

Serve One Another: At Home

WHY-Logo

We serve God by serving others – By Rick Warren

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Many people have the misconception that being “called” by God is something only missionaries, pastors, nuns, and other church leaders experience. But the Bible says everyone is called to serve God by serving others.

We are not saved by serving, but we are saved for serving. The Apostle Paul gives three insights related to this:

First, the basis for serving others is salvation. Paul says, “You were called to be free.” You cannot serve God until you’ve been set free by Jesus. It’s the prerequisite for serving.

Until you experience the transforming power of God’s grace in your life, you’re too enslaved by your own hurts, habits, and hang-ups to think much about others.

Without the freedom of forgiveness, you’ll end up serving for the wrong reasons: trying to earn the approval of others, trying to run away from your pain, trying to remedy your guilt, trying to impress God. Service motivated by these illegitimate reasons is bound to leave you burned out and ­bitter in the end.

Second, the barrier to serving others is selfishness. Paul warns, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.” The number one reason we don’t have the time or energy to serve others is that we’re preoccupied with our own agendas, dreams, and pleasures.

Only a small minority of people use their lives to serve others, but Jesus said, “If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” (Mark 8:35, LB)

Third, the motive for serving is love. Paul says, “Serve one another in love.” This is an important key to building community: 1 Corinthians 13:3 records, “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” (MSG)

God is far more interested in why you serve others than in how well you serve them. He’s always looking at your heart, serving willingly and eagerly out of love for Jesus and gratitude for all he’s done for you.

You are most like Jesus when you’re serving others. After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15 NLT)

http://thelife.com/challenges/we-serve-god-by-serving-others

The following two clips are from Christian comedian Michael Jr

I Like Laughter from ILikeGiving.com on Vimeo.