“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there are no laws.” – Galatians 5:22
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:30-31
It’s quiet. It’s early. The world is still asleep. In a few moments the day will arrive. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next 14 hours you will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now you must choose. Because of Calvary you are free to choose. And so you do.
TODAY I CHOOSE LOVE, as Max Lucado put it.
No occasion justifies hatred, no injustice warrants bitterness. Today, choose to love God and what God loves.
A wise friend told me to remember that “you will never meet someone Jesus doesn’t love”. Think about that. Take a look around you. Every person you meet, whether they are your best friend or the person who annoys you the most, Jesus loves them with the same incredible love with which he loves you. What does that say then for how we should treat each other?
When Jesus states the two greatest commandments, he lays out the challenge for us. First we are to love him with everything that we are: Heart, soul, mind, strength,–completely and totally. Then he says, we are to love each other as we love ourselves. Wow! How differently would your life look today, if you loved the person next to you as much as you love yourself? What would your day look like, if you loved the people far away with the same energy with which you love those closest to you. How would that change what you do, what you say, and how you act?
Today’s challenge is clear. Jesus loves you enough to hang on a cross for you. You will not grow spiritually without personally experiencing suffering and redemptive love. How much do you love the Savior and, in that love, those he loves?
Bringing It Home:
1. Today choose love. Choose to show your love for Jesus in an outward expression or two. Doesn’t have to be anything grand, just pick two people or situations within which you will choose today to love instead of doing something else.
2. How deep is your love for Jesus? For yourself? For others? Take a moment to take stock of your feelings to see where you are at. What can you do to grow in that love? What are you willing to do? Choose love in action today!
Precious Savior of mine, you love me with a love so great, I can’t even begin to fathom it! Today, Lord, help me choose to love you, and to love those you love with that same kind of love I lavish on myself. Help me to obey your commandment of love that others may know and obey it, too. Amen.
Jane Jebsen, Adult Discipleship Minister
Joy! Lutheran Church / Gurnee, Illinois