2019-12-30 – Romans 12:15
Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
This verse speaks of the love we should have for one another in the body of Christ. It is important to remember that we, as Christians, are united in one body. “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Romans 12:4-5. And because we are united in one body, we should have should care for what happens to each other. Paul put the unity of the body this way. “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:12-14.
Note the last part of the verses above, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:14. It is love that is the binding force that unites all Christians together. We should love each other with the love God has for us. Having this love one for another enables two very important things. First as stated above, we will all be in unity. If we are not in unity within the body, then there is a lack of love that exists within the disunity. I have been in this type of environment several times, and when this was the case, God’s work through the body was impeded. We can disagree sometimes, but when a decision is made, the love we have for each other should then work together to make things happen as decided.
And the second enables the world to see what true love is. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 When the world sees the love we have, they will look at us differently than if we are being divisive. It goes a long way in opening the door to successful evangelism.
How can we show love to each other. There are endless ways, but our focus verse points out two. The first is to rejoice with those who rejoice. We should be interested in how our brothers and sisters in Christ are doing. When a great blessing comes their way, we should be as excited for them as they are for themselves. God has provided it to them, and we should be thankful to God for their sake. And we must be careful not to envy them or covet their blessing. Rejoice with them, letting them know we are so happy for them.
And on the other side, we should weep with those that weep. We should join them in their mourning, being with them to help them through this difficult time. We should show true love by walking with people who suffer some type of loss that moves them to weep. It is a difficult thing to mourn alone, and we should love each other to the point we would never leave anyone alone.
Through these two things, rejoicing with the rejoicing, and weeping with the weeping, the body of Christ is greatly strengthened, and the bonds that unite us will grow even stronger. Take whatever time necessary to fulfil these two commands. If we all did this, it would be amazing to see all that God will accomplish through us.
2019-12-31 – John 14:15
Verse of the Day Devotion: John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
This is a very important verse, for it shows us what true love for Jesus looks like. Now, He is not questioning or doubting their love. He is saying that by the observance of His commands and precepts, it displays their love to Him. This is not saying we are saved by keeping His commands, but that we are showing our love for God by obeying His commands. This is a much surer test than simply the profession of our love. Many people say they love God, for this is something that is the ‘Christian’ thing to say. But the proof of this declaration is obedience. If we do not obey Him, how can we say we love Him? If we love Him, we will honor Him as Lord and King.
Jesus put it this way. “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” Matthew 15:8. This is a quotation of the words of the prophet Isaiah where He declared, “Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” Isaiah 29:13. Isaiah here is writing what the Lord told him. In essence, the Lord is saying that people will say and do whatever it takes to let people think they honor and love God, even though their hearts are in opposition to their words and deeds.
The theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way in his commentary notes on Matthew 15:8. “The true worship of God consists in the union of the heart to him – where this exists not, a particle of the spirit of devotion cannot be found.” We can say all we want regarding our love for God. However, if our hearts are not in union with His, we will not be devoted to Him and His ways. We will not obey Him in all things but will select those things in which we agree and are willing to follow. This is not true love as our focus verse says. True love is obeying and following Him in all ways. Now, we may stumble and fall at times in following His ways, but if we follow what Jesus says in that, “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” Mark 12:30, then we can ask forgiveness for we are His children and He will forgive us.
And lastly, the world is constantly watching us Christians who declare our love for God and our devotion to Him. It is important that they see the reality of our walk. If we profess our love for Him and then act in ways that deny this love, why should anybody listen to us? I saw an assistant Pastor once who declared the most important thing to do was to show our love for Jesus, and then, in a skit, acted as someone who was in love with the Pastor in a very inappropriate way. We cannot do this and expect the world to believe us. Therefore, it is important that we study His Word and know what He has commanded us to do as well as what not to do; both to honor God and to be a light to the world.
How can we say we love Him if we disobey Him and refuse to follow His commandments? We cannot and be truthful to Him and ourselves.