One of the greatest experiences in life is love. Everyone seeks love for it, comforts the heart and soothe the soul. Yet, hate exists and some folks enjoy inflicting its venomous poison onto others.
Hate is troublesome because of its negative impact on the human spirit.
Why is that?
Because it’s an effective sin, Satan uses to turn humans away from God.
Remember, God removed Lucifer from heaven (Isaiah 14:12-13) and he uses hate to avenge his judgement.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say the devil’s clever ways; he uses hate are cunning. For example, Satan uses racism to manifest hate between ethnic groups. The devil creates a hostile environment between cultures leading to death and destruction.
Other illustrations of hate are envy, abortion, and self-hatred. Those sinful actions corrupt the soul, harden the heart, and lead to a life headed for eternal damnation. Some people commit suicide to stop the constant internal strife they experience.
Both the New and Old Testament heightens God’s opposition to hates unfavorable existence. And when Christ roamed the earth, He exposed the world’s hate towards God (John 15:18-25).
I can almost hear you thinking nothing good comes from hate. Yes, hate breeds resentment, bitterness and causes physical harm to others. It’s a way evil doer provoke wicked action. A point often overlooked is hate leaves behind a trail of physical, mental devastation.
With this in mind, the devil works hard to twist the reality of Christ and he can’t tolerate us embracing God’s love (James 4:6).
How do I know?
From personal experience.
Before God saved me, I was a drunkard and full of self-hatred. I wanted to die. As a matter of fact, I attempted suicide but the Lord protected me from physical death. His love for me stopped the devil’s plan to kill me. And for that I’m forever grateful for His affection.
As shown above hate separates us from Jesus Deity.
What’s the solution?
Here’s something we both can agree on is nothing the world offers matches our Father’s love. His love gave Adam and Eve a second chance (Genesis 3:22). And because He loved them His grace is extended to us today. How exceptional is that?
As if that’s not enough He sacrificed His Son Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. This selfless display of His love shows He wants to save humanity from the evil one. Amazing isn’t it?
In fact, love is God’s greatest commandment to mankind (Matthew 22:37-38).
Love comes from God. Once a person receives His affection a spiritual transformation takes root and the individual’s heart
purifies. This supernatural conversion leads a person to extend this incredible love to others. For, loving others is God’s second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39).
Here’s the interesting part God’s love radiates through us showing those around us His powerful presence. As the result of His comfort we are able to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). The best part is love prevails over sin (1 Peter 4:8).
Given these points we know our Father’s love is divine, pure with an eternal destination of heaven!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Jesus, thank you so much for your Word. I am having a hard time concentrating this morning. My mind is drifting everywhere, and I just cannot focus on anything that I am trying to do. I still desperately desire to hear from you this morning and I want to draw close to you. But it seems that the enemy is trying ridiculously hard to pull me away today. We are not going to let that happen. I am going to keep fighting through it. In your name I pray – Amen!
One of my 1st thoughts when I read this verse was; “Why does Jesus call this new? I thought we were always supposed to show love to others.” That is true, but as you read on, Jesus says, “Love one another: just as I have loved you.” Whoa! Jesus! Are you telling us that we must love each other in the same way that you have loved us? That is not humanly possible. I fail at this every single day. I fail at loving anyone like that – even myself. Last night at work, I definitely did not show a great Christian example of love to Sherry. I am not even capable of showing this kind of love to you Lord. I do not know if I will ever be able to do this.
Jesus goes on to tell us in verse 35 that “By this (love), all people will know that you are my disciples.” Do you know how important this is Chris? Oh my gosh! I am deeply reminded of the importance of this. My anger and actions from work last night are reminding me now! Its as important as cutting the stove off when you are done cooking or turning the faucet to the tub off when it is full – except way more important than those two things. This is more important that burning your house down or getting water damage in your floors – trust me on this one!
God allows the world to judge whether I am a disciple of Jesus by the way I behave toward other people. That is true! How many times have you looked at a Christian in a restaurant on a Sunday evening and said, “That is the rudest person I have ever saw.” Do you know how many of my friends in fast food have said that to me? They say, “I dread the Sunday church rush because those are some of the most hateful and rude people that we have to deal with!” That is so sad people. What is that saying to the world about God’s church? No wonder the gospel has struggled for the last 2,000 years and is still struggling today! We need to take Jesus seriously at his Words on this verse. Are we doing that? Apparently not! I know I have not been. There are many people that would say, “There is no way Chris is a disciple of Jesus Christ!” I have made a lot of mistakes, but thank goodness that Jesus loves me like he says he does! Can we love others like that?
This passage challenges me because I cannot love like Jesus. I am usually only worried about myself and how I feel rather than others. But the closer I get to Jesus, and the more I understand His love, I can try to love better! The object of my affection at least shifts in that direction. I will still fall short, but the more I allow the love of God to change my life, the more I will allow that life changing love to shine on others.
I am encouraged because Jesus loves me. He really loves me, and he loves you. He loves you so much that he died a horrible death, one that we could not even imagine going through – and we probably would not go through it for anyone at that! Especially someone that mistreated us as we have mistreated him. I can see the love of Jesus changing my life. I mean, I still mess up, but I am making progress. He is working on my heart. My actions do not completely line up yet because I still got a lot of garbage in my mind, but He is helping me with that as well. He loves us! If you are having a bad day today, remember that – He loves you! Let that love change your life, and you will change the lives of others!
Your application can be totally different than mine. This is what I felt like I needed to do through this Scripture. God may lead you in a totally different direction – and that is ok.
1. I am going to go out of my way today for someone other than myself.
2. You never know what someone else is going through. I am going to make it a point to say kind gestures to at least five people today. And hopefully make that a daily habit.
Jesus thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart to your Word, despite the enemy trying to distract me this morning. I want nothing more than to know you. That is what I long for. I have tried to replace you with drugs, alcohol, and sex, but that never worked. The part of my heart that has been empty was missing you. You are the only one that can fill that space. I am going to struggle with my applications, but I ask that you remind me when I do of your great love. You loved me when I was a complete jerk and treated you horribly. And you still do! Help me respond to everyone in love and not anger. By this, all people will know that I am your disciple and maybe they will want to know you to!
In Jesus Name – Amen!
When Saul, in his zeal persecuting he Church, was on his way to Damascus, the Lord in glory met him—that same Lord Jesus, Whom Saul had with his nation rejected and cast out, but now risen from the dead and glorified, appeared to him. It was then Saul discovered the true values of his precious things in the light of glory which shone round about him—saw their utter worthlessness, and hence by grace was able to say, “What things were gain to men those I counted loss for Christ. Yes, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for (because of) the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may win Christ” (Phil 3:7, 8).
Now he had discovered the fine gold, and by the side of it he could see what he had been priding himself upon was but wretched tinsel, and estimating is at its proper value, he now desired only to win Christ—i.e., to have Him as his gain. Everything which had been precious in his eyes disappeared, and the Lord Jesus only, remained; and it was Christ only that he now desired to possess, not only as his ground of confidence before God, but also his everlasting possession. For the Lord Jesus had won his heart, and the heart can never rest until it has gained the object of its affections.
But inasmuch as it was the Lord Jesus in glory Whom he has thus seen and desired, it was only in the glory that He could be possessed. Hence the whole future course of the Apostle was governed by this fact. With heart and eyes fixed upon his Object, he says, “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended (if I may get possession of that for which also I have been taken possession) of Christ Jesus.” And in the energy of his soul—being all aglow with fervent desire—he adds, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
This was the prize on which his heart was now set, and like a racer, he bent his rapid steps toward the goal, and the varied objects of the surrounding scene passed by him unheeded, or were seen but dimly as he hasted onward, for his eyes were on the glorified Lord Jesus Christ, and he could see naught else “for the glory of that light” (i.e. as if we can see only Him through this present wilderness - Act 22:11—NC).
Such also is the object set for every believer. Well might we examine ourselves by the light of this Scripture—by the light of the energy, the ardent desire, the concentrated affection of the Apostle. Does the Lord Jesus (let us ask ourselves in the presence of the Father) so possess our hearts that we desire no other object (i.e. is He alone our sufficiency or is there still also something else we use to suffice us—NC)? Do we, like Paul, count all that the natural man esteems but loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord? The prayer is at times heard, and it may be presented by ourselves, that our hearts may be set upon the Christ. But He Himself said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21).
If our hearts, therefore, are not upon and occupied with Him, it is because He is not sufficiently our treasure. If, then, we would have our hearts detached from this scene and its objects, we must begin with Christ; we must trace out His manifold perfections, His varied beauties, His ineffable grace and unchanging love, and then our hearts will be drawn out towards Him, and He will absorb our affections, and attract us wholly to Himself.
—Edward Dennett (1831 – 1914)
“None but the Hungry Heart” devotional excerpt by MJS:
“What is our link with God? It is this—the Lord Jesus Christ, as the answer to God and to Satan for us. It will never be what we are in ourselves. If you are expecting a day to come when in virtue of what you are in yourself you can satisfy God, you are destined to an awful disillusionment. The day will never come when we can satisfy God in ourselves, not even more or less.”
“How could there be any doubt about the believer’s perfect security if his position in the Lord Jesus were realized? It would be impossible. Can He change? Or will God say to Him, I cannot any longer accept You as standing for this people? Or, once again if standing for them, is He on probation? Is His work completely done, or still to do?” - Frederick William Grant (1834 – 1902)
Those who continue to “desire and do” God’s “good pleasure” manifest that it is He who “works in you” (Phl 2:13)! This is clearly an advantage shown within Christianity that was not a provision within Judaism. Nevertheless, the former dispensation was equally necessary as the present one, for it was for the Jews—the “schoolmaster” which “brought them to Christ” that they in Him “might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24); all of which used by God exemplifies salvation to all who will now come!
How could it be sensible to consider that anyone in whom God has implanted His Spirit, and a nature that makes one a “partaker of the divine nature” of His Son (2Pe 1:4; Col 3:10) could ever desire to be without God? If the Creator is “working in you” to desire after Him—who is one to resist? It’s a given that God can be “resisted” if you haven’t chosen to be His (Act 7:51), but in the light of the above, how can a believer ever choose otherwise? Is not God’s purpose of “working in you,” to prevent ever again choosing “the former conversation the old man” (Eph 4:22)?
Thus, those who profess faith in Christ and do not manifest a permanent lifestyle “after the Spirit” clearly evince the absence of God’s love and provisions having ever entered into the life of the soul! It’s my strong suspicion that God offers all salvation (Mar 8:34; Tit 2:11; 1Ti 2:4; 2Pe 3:9), but only draws (Jhn 6:44) those whom He knows genuinely choose to come to Him (Mat 7:13; Jhn 6:37; also Deu 30:19). The Spirit proves to believers that they are saved (Rom 8:16), and the outward evidence is that they will never cease to live for Him (Mat 24:13; Mar 13:13; also Heb 10:39).