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Devotional: January 24th
“ This is My Commandment, That Ye Love One Another ”
- John 15:12
God is love. His whole nature and perfection is love, living not for Himself, but to dispense life and blessing. In His love He begat the Son, that He might give all to Him. In His love He brought forth creatures that He might make them partakers of His blessedness.
Christ is the Son of God’s love, the bearer, the revealer, the communicator of that love. His life and death were all love. Love is His life, and the life He gives. He only lives to love, to live out His life of love in us, to give Himself in all who will receive Him. The very first thought of the true Vine is love—living only to impart His life to the branches.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love. He cannot impart Christ’s life without imparting His love. Salvation is nothing but love conquering and entering into us; we have just as much of salvation as we have of love. Full salvation is perfect love.
No wonder that Christ said: “A new commandment I give unto you”; “This is my commandment”—the one all-inclusive commandment—“that ye love one another.” The branch is not only one with the vine, but with all its other branches; they drink one spirit, they form one body, they bear one fruit. Nothing can be more unnatural than that Christians should not love one another, even as Christ loved them. The life they received from their heavenly Vine is nothing but love. This is the one thing He asks above all others. “Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples...love one another.” As the special sort of vine is known by the fruit it bears, the nature of the heavenly Vine is to be judged of by the love His disciples have to one another.
See that you obey this commandment. Let your “obey and abide” be seen in this. Love your brethren as the way to abide in the love of your Lord. Let your vow of obedience begin here. Love one another. Let your intercourse with the Christians in your own family be holy, tender, Christlike love. Let your thoughts of the Christians round you be, before everything, in the spirit of Christ’s love. Let your life and conduct be the sacrifice of love—give your self up to think of their sins or their needs, to intercede for them, to help and to serve them. Be in your church or circle the embodiment of Christ’s love. The life Christ lives in you is love; let the life in which you live it out be all love.
But, man, you write as if all this was so natural and simple and easy. Is it at all possible thus to live and thus to love? My answer is: Christ commands it: you must obey. Christ means it: you must obey, or you cannot abide in His love.
But I have tried and failed. I see no prospect of living like Christ. Ah! that is because you have failed to take in the first word of the parable—“I am the true Vine: I give all you need as a branch, I give all I myself have.” I pray you, let the sense of past failure and present feebleness drive you to the Vine. He is all love. He loves to give. He gives love. He will teach you to love, even as He loved.
Love one another. Dear Lord Jesus, Thou art all love; the life Thou gavest us is love; Thy new commandment, and Thy badge of discipleship is, “Love one another.” I accept the charge: with the love with which Thou lovest me, and I love Thee, I will love my brethren.
the Third Week after Epiphany
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