Final Class • Devotion 6

The Key of Love
Sierra Combs

“These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:17

This morning as I was looking through my jewelry box, I came upon a bracelet that I bought several years ago at a vintage market. Between two sets of dainty chains lies a small aged brass key with the word “love” stamped on the metal. While I completely forgot about the bracelet (it had found a place in the very back of the box underneath some other things), as soon as I saw it I was hit with a flood of emotions. Just a few days before the market day, I was betrayed by a close friend. At first, I was devastated, which then turned to hurt and then anger. That is where it started to get ugly and my flesh allowed that anger to turn to bitterness and was starting to spiral out of control when the Spirit intervened. As I walked around that market with an equally moping and fuming attitude, I came across that little bracelet. I have always collected old keys, and when I picked this one up to see what it said I was instantly convicted - love. I was not feeling loving, nor did I feel any intention of being loving at that moment or anytime soon. I would have rather sat in my spite and anger, but I knew that the Lord was telling me to love. This was not the first or the last time that I would be reminded of this command. Because I often have a hard time being obedient in this area, I bought the bracelet to serve as a reminder that regardless of my feelings. God always commands me to love.

Loving others does not come naturally to me. I, of course, find it naturally easy to love those who are nice and kind to me. I will always love puppies, kittens, and newborn babies. Loving feelings and actions pour out with ease upon those groups. However, what about those who actively try to hurt me, my friends, and my family? What about the neighbor or co-worker who hates God and mocks Him at every turn? Perhaps you have suffered deeply and are left with a lifetime of trauma at the hands of an abuser or bully. The natural response to any of these situations is certainly not love. Yet, God requires it every time. In John 15:12, Jesus tells His disciples very clearly, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” If that was not plain enough, just a few verses later He reminds them again that “These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (John 15:17). This command was not just for them, but for all of those whom He has saved, and we have the entirety of God’s Word to prove it.

What else does the Bible say about love? In 1 Corinthians 13:13, we are reminded, “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” We are encouraged to not only give the bare minimum, but to “love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). In 1 John 4:7-8, we read, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” He goes on to say, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother who he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21). Ouch! These can be hard words to read, but they are His words. He does not just ask us to love, He requires it. Not only that, it is the evidence of our love for Him! If we say we love God, we must love others.

How then do we love? Like the early church, we should be known for our love, not just in words but in action. We should make a point to go out of our way to help meet the needs of others. To the lost world, we should always be prepared to give the truth of the Gospel of Christ - that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and because of this we are separated from a perfect and holy God. However, because of His love, God sent His only, perfect son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the sin debt that we owe and cannot pay. When we believe and confess His lordship over our lives, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and make us new. Of course, there is no greater example of how to love than that of Jesus, who loved sacrificially and unconditionally, even forgiving those who nailed Him to a cross.

As Jesus loved, so should we. God knows that this is not an easy task, and He does not leave us on our own. If you have been born again, you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you! When we walk in the Spirit, He will grow fruit in our lives with the fruit of love being the first of many other wonderful things that we cannot produce well on our own. Praise God for His help as we obey His command to love!
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