|A 30-DAY GUIDE FOR NEW BELIEVERS
by JOHN D. BECKETT
|DAY 11||LOVING OTHERS|
|How do I relate properly to others?
Just as God created us to be in close fellowship with Himself, He designed us to be tightly related to others. In that order! Our tendency is to focus on human relationships — friends, family, co-workers, neighbors — and make God an afterthought.
In the lesson on Day 6 we saw that loving God is our highest priority — “the first and great commandment,” according to Jesus (Matthew 22:38). Then He added, “And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 39). These two are closely bound. It is really out of our relationship with God that we develop the capacity to love others. Oswald Chambers puts it this way: “God’s love to me is inexhaustible, and I must love others from the bedrock of God’s love to me” (May 11).
You may have come into your relationship with Christ from a place of complete isolation from other people of faith. This seems to be a common trait among those who are searching the Internet. Or, you may have made this step after being around other Christians, seeing their lives and hearing how Christ has changed them.
In any case, God’s intention is to link you with other believers, groups of fellow Christians who constitute what is known as the “church.” Keep in mind the church is not a building, nor a denomination. In most cases it is a local gathering of those who are “born again.” A term Paul uses to describe such a network of believers is “the body.” See how members of “the body” are interdependent on each other:
God’s design is for you to be linked together with others. The 17th century English poet, John Donne (1572-1631), captured this reality in his famous meditation when he said, “No man is an island, entire of itself … ” You have a unique role to fill. It shouldn’t surprise you that the Great Designer would not leave your earthly relationships to chance. So you can put the whole matter of your relationships with others before Him, asking Him to bring you in contact with those of His choosing.
Does this include your mate in life? I believe so. For example, God brought my wife Wendy and me together nearly 50 years ago, and I have no doubt this was His wise choice. Our six children were not just biological happenings, but God’s carefully designed gifts whom He called us to raise. That conviction has helped carry us through the many challenges we have faced as parents.
Your new found faith will impact every relationship. As noted earlier, some will want to grow spiritually along with you. Others will back away. Still others who come into your life through Christian fellowship will become your closest friends. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is a privilege and responsibility that comes directly from God’s heart.
|Key Scripture||Abound in love to one another (1 Thessalonians 3:11).|
|Key Thought||I am incomplete in myself. I need other people and they need me.|
|Copyright © 2006 by John D. Beckett|
Pray daily for His intervention to bring those of His choosing into your life and ask for His direction on how to love others. He will see you through and give you the strength needed.
Be blessed, HL