Day 26 - The Commandment of Love

Day 26 - The Commandment of Love

Written By: Katelyn Boyd

 9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.
 (1 John 2:9-11)

There is something beautiful that I have learned and experienced about community within the body of Christ over the last several years; the Lord has shown me what a blessing it is to do life with people who love my children like their own. One of the ways the people in our church family love me well is by loving and caring for my babies, whether that is by picking them up from school when I can’t, teaching them about Jesus, or praying with me for their salvation and maturity in the faith. For the people in my life, their love for my children is directly related to their love for me; they love my kids because they are mine. No one could truly love me if they hated my children. Similarly, today’s passage shows us the connection between love for God and love for his people.

In this passage, we see John challenging the inconsistency between what believers often claim about their relationships with God and their conduct toward one another. He sets out three indicators of a believer’s fellowship with God: “keep my commandments (verses 3-5),” “live in the light (verses 9-10),” and “love your brother (verses 10-11).” This passage tells us that living in the light of fellowship with God goes hand in hand with “loving fellow believers.” You cannot walk in fellowship with God if you are not also consistently loving the members of the family of God; so, the way that we love one another is directly related to our love for God. This is a sobering thought! As believers, none of us are perfect, but based on this passage, our love for one another ought not to be conditional upon the merit of the other person, or the way they do or do not love us as they should. Our love for one another within the Body of Christ is based solely upon our love for the Lord. If we love our God, we love our brother. Period.
 John goes on to say in verse 10 that hatred for other believers indicates that we are still walking in darkness, or are out of fellowship with God. The Greek word used for hate here, miseo, connotes habitual hatred. It means to detest someone; to harbor unjustifiable animosity toward someone else. This kind of hatred not only puts us in darkness and out of fellowship with God, but it leads to aimless activity and loss of direction and clarity, as one who hates his brother “does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness (verse 11). We cannot simultaneously be in fellowship with God and out of fellowship with another believer. Hating other members of the family of God is equivalent to walking in darkness, and as children of Light, we don’t belong in darkness!

Verse 10 also reminds us that believers who love one another are walking in light and are not obstacles to others, or do not cause others to stumble and fall. If we were all to be really honest, we would probably agree that one of the greatest obstacles among believers is a lack of love. Loving one another is messy; it goes beyond mere profession of love and requires action. It costs something–time, energy, money, pride, commitment. It requires us to die to our own preferences and to the love of self that so often bubbles to the surface of our hearts and actions. Loving members of the family of God involves commitment. This kind of love requires that we are in fellowship with the Lord, receiving direction and power from the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t ask us to love one another in our own strength; He knows we cannot. But, praise God, He has given us a Helper! Romans 5:5 reminds us that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” We can draw on the Spirit’s power in order to love others unconditionally, as He loves us.

John Piper says that “love is the living evidence of new birth and eternal life.” So, today, examine the evidence of new birth in your life by assessing how you are doing at loving other believers, not only by a profession of love, but by action. Is there anyone you need to seek out, perhaps to apologize to or to have a difficult conversation with, in order to restore fellowship with that person and with God?

Father, I love you, because you first loved me. Help me to love your people well, because of my love for you. Help me not to be a stumbling block to others, but instead, to love other believers in word and deed. Help me to draw on the power of your Spirit to love with a capacity beyond myself; I pray that the world would see and be drawn to your love because of my love for others within your body. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.