Love's Full Extent
Day 1: In the passage from John 13, we encounter Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. All of them. Even the ones who denied and betrayed Him. In reading this account, an obvious question comes to mind, ‘How could those men do such a thing to Jesus?’ without stopping to reflect on ourselves. Many of us have a mental list of the sins that we will never do. However, it’s very easy to rationalize other, more sociably acceptable sins. Have you reflected on your own heart and actions lately? Do you hold an attitude that dishonors, denies, or betrays your friendship and love for Jesus? Sit back in your chair, reflect and allow God to reveal any sin that comes to mind. If so, confess it to Him now. Remember this. If Judas, who betrayed God’s own Son, is still worthy of receiving His love, then ANYONE is. Anyone includes YOU. You are forgiven. He loves you. As you’ve confessed your sins, enjoy the reminder of His promise over you “…I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3
Day 2: We are LOVED! Forever loved…no matter what. Romans 8:39 says, “No height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” not our sins or betrayals or attitude of the heart. Although if we’re honest, we have some ugliness in the depth of our hearts that we don’t want to reveal. They are especially disheartening when we (who have been forgiven much), struggle to love and forgive those around us. Cory said it this weekend. “We often tend to withhold love and care from those who hurt us.” How did Jesus respond to those who hurt Him? He washed their feet and loved them anyway. Who in your past has hurt you? Have you been able to respond in forgiveness? How have you ‘washed their feet’? Is there a step you need to take toward loving one who has hurt you?
Day 3: When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He was displaying love to them. He did not skip over Judas or stop this exercise knowing that He illustrated His point. He washed Judas’ feet. Jesus gives us a powerful example to love those who hurt us. Do you struggle to love a particular family member or friend? Is there a person at work who repeatedly offends you? Does one person come to mind? Maybe it isn’t a someone but a group of people. Jesus’ model is for all of us to follow. Jesus loved BEYOND His pain or preferences. His love breaks the cycle of disrespect and responds with the power of selflessness and forgiveness. Consider the erosion that takes place in a person’s heart when there is a refusal to love. Examine your own heart and mind. Has any judgmental attitude made a home in your heart?
Day 4: Remember yesterday’s devotional? Though goodness does flow from us, we acknowledge the truth that hard-heartedness can surface within us. However, this is not Jesus’ heart as He displayed in washing the disciples’ feet, even the feet of Peter and Judas. If Jesus responds in love, why is it a struggle for us to love? Jesus, who loved us in spite of our disloyalty, loved us until the day He died (and beyond). Loving us cost Jesus. It cost him death on a cross. We have been forgiven, and it cost His earthly life. In what ways does love cost you something? Are you willing to pay the price of love? Consider a step today that will cost you.
Day 5: Loving like Jesus is the call – the commitment. Not loving is NOT an option if we are committing to live like Jesus did. We don’t heed this call to love because it seems reasonable, easy or practical. We heed His call because Jesus calls us. Read John 13:34-35. We are commanded to love. Will this be hard? Yes. Impossible? No. Necessary? Absolutely. The challenge for today.
Be committed to love – no matter what. No matter the cost. No matter the betrayal. No matter the hurt. LOVE WINS. Ask Jesus to help you to love. He knows how to do it.