Commanded to love
Jesus said, ‘I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!’ (v.11 NLT). The ‘things’ that we must do to have His joy in our lives are outlined by Jesus in the next verse: ‘This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.’ That can feel like a pretty challenging commandment. We’ll have to do a lot of growing and maturing in order to keep it. But to enjoy the life Jesus wants us to have, we must commit ourselves to doing it. God created all kinds of people with different temperaments and personalities, so He clearly loves variety. When God made the first person He said, ‘It was good.’ Not only are there varieties of people, but there’s ‘good’ in everybody and that’s what we need to be looking for. A lot of our unhappiness in life is caused by people not being what we want them to be, or doing what we don’t want them to do. We often have unrealistic expectations of others, and sometimes we don’t even communicate those expectations with them. We think people will know how to love us. So how can we enjoy each day if we’re going to have to deal with people we don’t get along with? We need to make up our minds to love them. In 1 John 4, it says: ‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:7-8 NIV). We don’t have to like their ways, but we still have to try and see them through God’s eyes, and love them.
Think of someone you struggle to get along with. Ask God to help you see them through His eyes and discover the good qualities within them.
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