WEEK SIX, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK SIX THEME: LOVE
DAY FIVE THEME: LOVE IN THE CHURCH
SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 13:8-10 (CEB)
“Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, ‘Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have’, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is what fulfills the Law.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: To say “Love is the answer” sums up the teachings of Jesus. God wrote ten different commandments, but Jesus (and here through Paul) sums up all of them into one equation: LOVE. This scripture simply says that if we love others – and that love has to start with us loving ourselves first – then we will do no harm. According to Romans, the only indebtedness that we truly have is to love each other. We are ‘obligated’ to LOVE.
I think the continuing root in all of this love understanding begins with us loving ourselves. What is it that keeps us awake at night – what is it that nags us ongoingly throughout the day…. it often, maybe even usually, has something to do with an inner loathing of something we see in ourselves that we simply cannot handle, we abhor.
Sometimes we take that into many channels trying to free ourselves of the conviction – pointing out others’ actions or lack thereof that annoy us – only to find that as we point to others, three fingers are always pointing back to ourselves: that imperfect self that won’t allow me to just be – that I simply cannot accept; that part of who I am that I want changed but often feel helpless to change anything. Then, in that cycle, I spiral downward and out of control.
Self control is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit – not something that I can will myself into. I can set goals, I can write charts, I can call myself into accountability in all kinds of ways, but unless I allow God to love me as incomplete as I may feel – I will never be able to love myself. God does not require much – all that we have to do is accept His grace and take on His love. Only then – each day – can we truly find love for ourselves that radiates onto every other person we shall ever meet – without condition or proof but because each of us has the same Heavenly Father and we all fall short of perfection and we are all on a journey towards His perfection in His time. This ongoing understanding must be continually renewed within our relationship with our Eternal Father – daily, hourly, minute by minute.
Many of our daily steps have to be taken in recognition of the fact that we are not all that we want to be. Releasing our imperfections keeps us open and focused on God’s work in our lives and not on what we can or cannot do. God can use us in the exact condition that we are in… but only as we release ourselves into His work first on us and then through us.
Why did Cain kill Abel? Was it that he loathed himself for any unacceptable offering he had made and took that loathing out on Abel rather than working on himself. Why was the Woman at the Well lonely and stuck in a sinful life… was it that her sin was her own shame and self-loathing that assumed that there would never be another option for her therefore spiraling her down and down and out of control. When Jesus spoke love into her living, she no longer hid – she was no longer ashamed…. she instantly became and evangelist for such love.
As I approach God – My Eternal Heavenly Father with all that I am and with all that I wish I was, may I let go of it all and release myself to be His …. Just as I am.
Lord, lift the heaviness of perfection and use me as your vessel.
Praises for Your Amazing Grace!
(I have not been able to continue these posts since October when I had brain surgery to remove a metastatic tumor from the cancer I have been fighting since 2015. I was not sure if I could continue, but my recovering is going well and I can’t think of nothing more important than remaining in God’s Word and listening to His still small voice. Making it through the surgery and now recovering well from it has overwhelmed and blessed me beyond measure – may God use us all for His good in all of our struggles and imperfections. Thanks for your time!)