By Gena Siegel
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
It will be by our love for each other that the world will know who God is.
There is much at stake.
This new commandment is one of the ways that God wants to reveal himself to those who don’t know Him yet. It is also one of the ways He reveals His love to His followers. His love flows through us to one another. It is amazing and a bit unnerving to think how intricately we are woven into God’s plan for salvation.
I am learning that in order to love those within my own community, I have to be filled up with God’s love for me. Any other path toward loving others is unsustainable because it is driven out of self.
As I ask God to help me be more self aware, He has been showing me the times when my love for others is colored by a past wound, a bias or a selfish desire instead of a love that is modeled by Jesus. To know and experience the love of God does not just happen. We have to spend time getting to know Him and this requires intention, sacrifice and a willingness to receive.
Jesus spent time getting to know the Father by stepping away from the demands of the life He was living. He allowed God to fill Him with His presence during times of silence and solitude, in prayer, and by studying the scriptures. He also spent time with His disciples and His community, sharing the things He knew about who the Father was.
It was through these practices that Jesus absorbed the love, knowledge and wisdom of God that enabled Him to reveal the love of the Father to others.
Jesus’ love—His unchanging, sacrificial love, demonstrated to us throughout His journey to the cross—is the only love that will sustain us and enable us to love each other. With this in mind I invite you to:
Ask God to show you something new about his love today.
Invite the Holy Spirit to show you what you need to know about loving others.
Ask God if there is any action he is inviting you to in response to what he has revealed.
He may convict us by showing us the real truth about ourselves, but He will never shame or condemn. Remember, His voice is full of compassion and mercy and He always builds us up.
Let Us Pray
God, will you show us where to start in order to truly know your love and then help us to receive it with unguarded hearts and minds.
Gena Siegel is the director of women’s formation at Imago Dei.