WEEK SIX, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK SIX THEME: LOVE
DAY FIVE THEME: LOVE IN THE CHURCH
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 5:13-14 (CEB)
“You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love.
All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: Here it is again – love your neighbor – all those around you – AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF. Our work of love begins with ourselves. If we find fault and loathing for anything that we do, how can we find good in others.
We begin with God’s love for us which is unmerited and free and then we learn to love ourselves because He loves us – He deems us worthy of love. Kingdom living is a process – a day to day movement complete with successes and failures – victories and defeats. Some days it all comes easy, my hair does good, my makeup is just right – I even can see my eyelashes! – and my clothes fit well and comfy. I’m good – its a good day. Bring it on world, I’m ready – or am I?
If everything about my ability to love has to do with the outward appearances and the feeling of well-being within myself, then I will easily become deflated and defeated. What if my hair is going its own way, and once again I have more pounds and inches than I should or want, and I don’t even feel like putting on make up. Obviously I probably am not feeling at all good about myself and will not even want to leave my home much less love anybody. Again, I am relying on my feelings about my love-ability rather than the fact that I am loved.
Our real work is looking at the me that God created each and every moment of each and every day and seeing a loved person based only on the fact that my Heavenly Father loves me – just as I am. I don’t have to do anything to obtain that love – it is unconditional and perfect and it is solely for me. Gratitude then is the only expression there is room for. No self help books or programs of cause and effect will make me love me – just accepting God’s love and acceptance of me – no matter what – is my beginning point. God makes me worthy – not one other thing – and in that worthiness I can find love for myself. I can make goals as needed to improve my health and my wishes – but not because any of those things can make me more deserving – they might be expressions of love for myself, but not must-dos for God’s love to continue toward me.
As I ongoingly accept this free gift of love and acceptance for myself and fall in love with myself again each day (not narcisism but love and appreciation for what God has created in me) then I can begin loving others with complete Godlike love. It does not have to be at full tilt and there will need to be rechecks all along the way to make sure that I’m not out there earning God’s love, but accepting it freely and passing it on more and more to others that come across my path. God is the One who loves us and loves through us as we become more and more His child.
Lord, help me seek only to please you and in doing so increase your Kingdom of kindness and love for all people. Amen!
(This completes Week Six’s Theme on Love – probably one with the most scriptures for our focus. Next time we begin Week Seven: Hospitality.)