‘Above all, love one another earnestly’
The path of discipleship is supposed to be simple. Although we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be, I believe Father intended our Christian walk to be the simple act of following the Spirit day by day. This doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but it should be simple.
For example, Jesus took the entire Jewish law and summed it up in one statement. Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself. He simplified a complex religious system into just two powerful commandments. But Jesus said this almost two thousand years ago, so how is it going to help us in the complex culture that we find ourselves living in today?
When life gets complicated, we need to remember that the greatest thing we will ever do is love well.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Try to visualize all of your hopes, dreams and goals. Think of your five-year and ten-year plans and all the things that you strive for each day. Let them all pile up into a big mountain in front of you. Now realize that loving well will be a far greater accomplishment than any of these things could ever be.
We too often fall into the trap of performance in an effort to demonstrate our worth or significance. We live as though what we do is more important than who we are. This is a subtle trap that keeps us tied up trying to earn love by our works rather than receiving love because of who we are to our Father and the rest of our kingdom family. The irony is that when we live this way, we seldom feel as if we’re good enough no matter what we accomplish. The finish line keeps moving and we get stuck on the merry go round of constantly seeking the approval of others.
But the word of God leads us away from all this and brings us back to the simplicity of our discipleship by saying “Above all, love one another earnestly…” (1 Peter 4:8) Above all of what? Above all the things that we try to accomplish and all the things we are desperate to become. Because when we sincerely love one another we will find that there is more than enough compassion to go around, regardless of what we have made of ourselves or failed to make of ourselves, for that matter. By loving others above all else, we will find that we are also loved without even having to earn it.
So when life gets too complicated and you feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to be the perfect spouse, a good parent, an ideal employee, a charismatic small group leader, a wise steward of your finances, an anointed minister with your spiritual gift, a bible scholar and a Sunday school teacher or volunteer, a dependable friend, etc…. just take a deep breath and remember that our goal as disciples of Jesus is to love one another.
And if we return to the simplicity of following the still small voice and seeking to love well, then everything else will fall into place.
Have a great week! See you Sunday,