Focus Moment -2/26/18

Silence, Stillness, and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Prayer for Presence

Lord Jesus, in this moment of prayer, free me from the distractions of the day so that I may be deeply present to you and myself, for the sake of the world around me.

Confession:

Redeeming God, a new commandment you gave to us: to love you with all our heart, soul, and mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Forgive us for not obeying the call of Christ in our lives to fulfill the greatest command. Pour out the Holy Spirit into our hearts, that others may know we are Christians by our Love.

Scripture Reading & Devotional 

John 13:34-35 New Living Translation (NLT)

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

If there is one thing we can all relate to it is to loving ourselves.  Before you scoff, or rebuke me for narcissism, I would encourage you to think about this for a moment.  For example, we make sure that we are fed, bathed, clothed, and we usually have a list of things we want to do, all for the purpose of taking care of ourselves.  We do this because deep down inside, we love ourselves.

If we didn’t love ourselves then I guess we wouldn’t be so upset when people cut us off while driving our cars, or we would be happy with being fired and so on—but this is not the case.  Even when we claim to hate our lives, we truly love ourselves, because if we didn’t we wouldn’t be depressed or bitter about our circumstances.  The fact we can become depressed tells us we want more for ourselves than what we currently have. God knows this, and to be perfectly clear, loving oneself is not a problem, unless we become self-absorbed, and self-centered as a result of our love for self.

God truly understands how much we love ourselves and He has given us Scriptures to guide us in loving others with this same type of love.  When asked, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus responded by saying, “You shall love the LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment.”  He then followed this up by giving the second greatest commandment, by saying, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-39).

As husbands we have been given this same type of commandment with respect to how we are to love our wives.  Ephesians 5:28 tells us, So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”

Loving oneself isn’t the issue, but loving others as we love ourselves can be an ongoing challenge.  To forgive those who have offended and hurt us, just as God has forgiven us, is a genuine act of love.  To take our valuable time and resources and invest it into others when we have our own plans for those things is another example.  Regardless of how our love is manifested it should always be a spirit-led willingness to do what is best for others, regardless of the costs involved.

Q:         How can we consistently have this type of love to give to others?

Here’s the thing—our love for others will always be a byproduct of our genuine love for our Lord.  As we love Him, we will usually find we have a greater love for others.  God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).  Christ laid down His own life for others—this is how we are to love others as well.  When we have this love, we will walk in faith—doing what we know to be righteous.  As we do, God will empower us and provide what is needed.

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these truths.

STUDY QUESTION: According to John 13:34-35, how did Jesus say we will know if we are His true disciples?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you have a genuine love for others?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Make your heart’s desire to continue to read your Bible daily so you can understand the nature of God, and see the many examples of His love for us.  As you do, you will find your love for Him is growing, and your love for others is as well.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for Your amazing love for me.  Thank You for giving me Your word to show me how much You love me, and what this love looks like in action.  Help me to love others in this same way.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Space for Reflection (take 2-3 minutes to be silent or write out your thoughts or prayers from the scripture passage or devotional)

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

 Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

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