The Bible says the most important commands are “to love” (Mark 12:28-33). Jesus’ teachings on love were radical to a society that believed that their “neighbor” was people just like them and their enemies were anybody who was “not one of them”. Today, His teachings on love are still considered radical in a hateful, hurting world. This week we will take a brief unexhaustive look at what the Lord says about love.
MONDAY: LOVE ONE ANOTHER
1. Read John 13:34 – Why is this command new? (Compare with Leviticus 19:18).
2. How much does Jesus love you? (Romans 5:8, I John 3:16) What do these verses teach us about how we are to love each other? How can you “lay down your life for your fellow believers” (See 1 John 3:17)?
FAITH STEP: Who do you know this week that you can touch with the “love of Jesus”? Find one fellow Christian and help them in a practical way – before the week is over.
TUESDAY: GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU
I believe it is easier to love others when we recognize how much God loves us. Many people, believers and nonbelievers fail to experience God’s love. Today I want us to read some passages from God’s Word. After reading each verse write down one thing from that verse that shows you how much God loves you.
I John 4:9-10
FAITH STEP: Where would you be without God’s love in your life? Spend a few minutes praising God for his love for you. Pick one of these verses to memorize this week
WEDNESDAY: LOVING OUR ENEMIES
When God talks about loving others the Greek word that is used is “agape”. It is a word that connotes unconditional selfless actions toward a person. It is not a feeling, it is a choice, it is a commitment to be kept in spite of your feelings. Agape loves does the right thing - the thing that is best for the other person – regardless of your feelings. Keeping that in mind, read Luke 6:27-36.
1. After reading I Corinthians 13:4-8 make a list on how you can love your enemies.
2. After reading Romans 12:17-21. What good deed can you do for your “enemy” (Person you don’t like or doesn’t like you)?
3. Read 1 Peter 3:8-9. How can you respond to your “enemies “curse” with a blessing?
FAITH STEP: Spend few minutes praying for your “enemies” (difficult people in your life) and asking God to help you reach out to them in love.
THURSDAY: LOVING OUR ENEMIES – Part 2
Re-read Luke 6:27-36. Are there limits to “turning one’s cheek” or letting one borrow from you”? (See John 18:23, Acts 22:22-29)
1. Jesus is using hyperbole to teach a life changing principle. Which of these statements are NOT what Jesus is teaching?
· Jesus wants his people to become perpetual victims.
· In a selfish world Jesus wants his disciples to be generous
· In a world that seeks revenge Jesus wants his disciples to offer forgiveness.
2. What two things does God promise to those who learn to love their enemies (verse 35)?
3. Who is to be our example when it comes to us being merciful?
FAITH STEP: Write down the name of a person in your life who needs mercy. What can you do this week to be merciful towards them?
FRIDAY: LOVING YOUR ENEMIES - Part 3
1. Read John 13:1-17. Why did Jesus wash the disciples’ feet? (Verse 1)
2. What did Jesus know that the other disciple’s did not know (Verse 2, 10,11)
3. How do you think Judas felt when Jesus washed his feet?
FAITH STEP: In what relationship do you need to “wash feet” (meet a need through service) this weekend? Make plans and do it.
SATURDAY: GROWING IN LOVE
1. Read I Corinthians 13:4-8. Take a piece a paper and make 5 columns. In column one make a list of God’s characteristics of love found in our reading like this: I am patient, I am kind, I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud, I am not rude ,I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs, I do not delight in evil, I rejoice with the truth, I always protect, I always trust, I always hope, I always persevere, My love never fails.
At the top of column two write “With my family”, at the tope of column three write “at church”, at the top if column 4 write “at work” and at the top of column five write “with my enemies.” Now using a rating system of 1-10 (one being “I need a lot of help”, 10 being “I’m great at this”) rate your love in each area of your life. What areas do you need to improve on? Who can help you do that? Spend a few minutes in prayer seeking God’s help to be more loving.