Believers have an obligation to love one another. UGH! We don’t like thinking that we have to do something out of obligation, do we? We prefer to think that we do the things we really want to do and that our hearts are fully in whatever those things are. We don’t like thinking that someone is doing something for us out of obligation, either. That might mean that the person really doesn’t want to do it, but is doing it because it’s an obligation.
An obligation is a debt owed.
I would imagine that when Paul wrote these words to the believers in Rome, he was not thinking in terms of the believers owing one another so much as them all owing God so much. Our debt to God simply cannot be repaid. And yet, our hearts long to do things to please Him because of the immense love and grace He has shown us.
Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.” His greatest command was to love God above all and His second was to love your neighbor as yourself. These words reveal to us how we can please our God who rescued us from sin and its eternal consequences.
So… we love one another from a place of obligation to our Lord and Savior. That’s not a bad thing at all. See, we humans are not naturally selfless. We are actually quite selfish. We want what we want, and we want it now, and sometimes others come up in our minds before us, but not often.
As believers, we consider what God would want us to do, and then we do it. Being perfectly honest, it’s not from the goodness of our hearts, but the goodness of His heart.
That means we have to step outside our clique -we all have them- and love the others around us.
Following Jesus’ example: He had his closest friends, those three who went with Him to the mountaintop and to the furthest reaches of the Garden. He had His close friends, those who traveled all over the land with Him, walking every step with Him. And He had friends He loved but hadn’t met yet, those who checked Him out, mainly because they wanted something from this man of miracles.
We have those closest friends, the ones we turn to for prayer and trust for advice, allowing them to speak into our lives. We have close friends we’ll invite over, have dinner with, run to them in times of need. Then we have friends we are to love, but we haven’t really met yet. Some are strangers, some are those we’re just not familiar with.
It is this last group that we need to be careful to recognize as those we’re to pour our love on. It’s easy to gift love in time, touch, and deeds to the other two groups, but this last one? It’s much easier to say we love them than to prove it.
God wants us to prove it.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.