January 18th, 2024
Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – Philippians 2:1-2 ERV
The most comforting, but also the most difficult, command in the Scriptures is to love each another (Leviticus 19:13; Matthew 22:39; 1 John 3:11). I am writing this during an election season in the United States, so I am reminded daily how difficult it can be to love others! Paul had good reason to encourage the small church in Philippi to love each other and be united. Writing them from a prison in Ephesus, he knew firsthand that the world would not welcome this fledgling Jesus movement. These Christians were changing their allegiances to a new King and finding themselves more and more excluded from the societies, communities, and families to whom they had once belonged. The persecution and pressure to return was overwhelming.
Loving each other was not optional. The only way for this movement to flourish in such an inhospitable environment was for them to love each other in honor of their new King. It was to King Jesus they now belonged; He defined their identity and was central to their life together. They needed to be united in their loyalty to Jesus, superseding all other loyalties (Luke 14:26-27).
In his book The Blue Parakeet , theologian Scot McKnight says, “The King and His Kingdom Story redeems us into “oneness”—oneness with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the world. When this oneness is lived out, God is glorified and humans delight in that glory.” At times, it may be hard to love others! But because the world will always be hostile to the Gospel by which we live, we must keep our eyes on our King and love one another. We are His family, and from Him, we enjoy every blessing together.
How can we love our brothers and sisters in Christ this week?
Inspirational Image of the Day