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The Same Message

The Same Message

21 August 2019

The Same Message
Jim Stephens

Reading: Jeremiah 21, 24, 27; Psalm 118; 1 John 2

Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. (1 John 2:7 NLT)

John is sometimes called the “Apostle of Love” because he writes so much about love - love of God, love of others, love of enemies. On the surface, it seems like he’s a just sweet guy who talks about love – God loves us, we love each other, it all just sounds so nice and cuddly! In reality, what John says about love sets the bar so high that unless we honestly confess our sins and failures, and completely depend on the Holy Spirit, we’re stumbling along in the dark!

John writes that unless we keep Jesus’ commandments, we’re outsiders. But this kind of commandment-keeping is not about obeying a list of rules in order to be acceptable and accepted, this is about the answer Jesus gave when he was asked “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

If I don’t love like Christ loved, I’m not living as Christ lived. If I’m to live as Christ lived, I must be filled with and submitted to and empowered by the same Holy Spirit that lived in and filled and empowered him. If I’m to love as Christ loved, the love must flow from my heart and not from fearful obedience to a legal requirement.

I don’t have the capacity to love like Christ loves unless I’m living by the power and promptings of the same Spirit. Rules, expectations, peer pressure, fear of judgment, ambition, drive to succeed, threats – none of these things can make me live and love like Jesus. Only his Spirit, living in me and loving through me.

Prayer:

Father, Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and forgive me for my efforts at rule-keeping to please you and people-pleasing to fit in and get along. Fill me with your Spirit and let your love live in me. Amen.

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