by Missy Milbourn
This Week's Verse: 1 John 16, 17, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (NLT)
As I’ve walked with Christ He has changed me in many ways, but there’s one change that stands out above the rest, and that’s the ability to love. The old Melissa Milbourn was compassionate, but not necessarily loving. I loved my friends and family, but didn’t really care that much about anyone outside of my immediate circle, until Jesus.
There are times now when I meet someone and immediately have love for them. There are times when I don’t even know someone personally, but only know OF them, and yet God puts them on my heart, and causes me to love them.
The Apostle John is often referred to as the “Apostle of Love”. In 1 John, he teaches us much about loving God and loving others. However, you might find it interesting that the “Apostle of Love”, wasn’t always so loving either.
In Luke 9:51-56, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, when they ran into some people who did not welcome Him. When James and John saw this, they asked, “"Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" (NASB)
But Jesus turned and rebuked James and John saying, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:55:56, NASB)
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus had given James and John the nickname “Sons of Thunder”. Many think that it was due to their hot temper, and quickness to judge others (Mark 3:17 and 9:38).
However, because of walking with Jesus, and listening to Jesus, and being obedient to Jesus, John was transformed into the “Apostle of Love” reflecting the very character of Jesus.
As we surrender ourselves to Christ, as we spend time in His presence, we too begin to reflect His character, and the Word tells us that God is love. I know that I have not yet been made perfect in this “love” arena, but I notice a definite change in my heart, due to the manifestation of God’s love in my life.
Father, help me to surrender myself wholly to you, so that I more accurately reflect Your loving character. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Where are you in the “love” process? Do a quick analysis of your own heart. Consider this question, am I quick to judge others, or quick to love others? In the past when you have been judged, did that draw you closer to that person, or drive you away from that person. In the past, when you have been loved, did that draw you closer to that person, or away from that person.
1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.” (MSG)
1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.” (NIV)
1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)