Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:32
In Deuteronomy 6:5, the Scripture says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Our Lord speaking to the Pharisees summarized the Ten Commandments as handed over to Moses in these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second … is like this, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself’.” (Matt 22:37, 39). What God asks of all who believe in Christ and receive His salvation is devoted love. This love involves the affection of our heart whereby God is so valued and esteemed that we long for His friendship, love Him with our obedience and seek His honour and glory here on earth. For all who truly love God, they cannot shrink back from public identification with Him even to the point of suffering for His name for righteousness sake. Our love for Him must be wholehearted, a love inspired by His love for man. This is known as VERTICAL LOVE. That is LOVE of God by man. Every child of God is required to love all people (Gal. 6:10), including their enemies. This is HORIZONTAL show of love.
Beloved in Christ, it is unmistakably obvious that any believer who shies away from this vertical and horizontal love cannot be said to have a good relationship with God let alone, salvation. Love is the fundamental factor needed to enjoy not only a good relationship with the Almighty, but possess God’s power and health.
St. Paul writing to the Ephesians advised, “And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake forgives you.” (Eph. 4:32) Beloved in Christ, there is virtually nothing any believer can achieve in relation to God without the total display of this vertical and horizontal show of love. First you cannot boast that you are saved when you do not sincerely love God and neighbor. It is also impossible for a Christian to possess the genuine power of God without love. The fruit of the Holy Spirit which are offshoots of love cannot be accessed by the Christian who lacks love. A believer who displays the gifts of God, but lacks genuine love for God and neighbor is fake; he does not know God. His ways are still dark and slippery; walking on a tiny rope. St. Paul says, “I may be able to speak the language of men and even angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. I may have the gifts of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all faith needed to move mountain – but if I have no love, I am nothing…” (1 Cor. 13:1-3) Dear child of God, the Holy Spirit reveals to us today that prayers are not answered by God because the petitioners are His enemies or far from Him. Our Lord said, if you love me, obey my commandments and if you obey my commandments, ask of anything of my Father and He will do them for you. The only premise on which your prayers and supplications can be attended to by God is if you are in a loving relationship with Him and your neighbor. Love for neighbor is manifested principally by how much care, concern and mercy you show towards the people around you. Are you able to forgive the hurts meted on you by a neighbor and simply say at all times that the hurt is “Gone” because of the love you have for God and the person involved. It is the intensity of your love for God and the neighbor who hurts you that drives you to say “But Gone” all for the sake of Christ’s righteousness. Just like Jesus Christ said on the Cross “it is finished” so you shall say “But Gone” because the greatness of love for Him and neighbour in you cannot allow hate, malice, unforgiveness and dislike to find a dwelling in you.
- Take a worship song as you are led.
- Now that I know that my lack of love separated me from You, kindly grant me the grace to love You and my neighbor in the name of Jesus.
- Lord, grant me the grace to forgive as many as have offended me and be able to say “But Gone” because of my love for You.
- Pray for all Users of Daily Strength who live in perpetual hurt and unforgiveness.
- Pray for all who take delight in oppressing others that they may recognize the sad consequence it has to their lives.
Exercise: Try to seek peace with as many as have hurt you in the past.
Memory Verse: Isaiah 58:3.