Are You Doing It?
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.
In Romans 13:8, Paul sums up how to live the Christian life. “Love your neighbor,” he writes, "and you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” He then illustrates this fact by citing four prohibitions from the Ten Commandments. His point? If you love others, then you won’t commit adultery with them. You won’t murder them. You won’t steal from them. And you won’t even covet their possessions. Here is the Christian life in a nutshell: Love your neighbor!
I expect that 100% of my readers know this already. The call to love our neighbors isn’t new. In fact, it wasn’t new when Paul wrote it in the late 50s A.D. And it wasn’t new when Jesus said it. We find the command to love our neighbors all the way back in Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” So today you’re not getting new information.
Rather, I want to ask you a simple question: Are you doing it? Think about it. Pray about it. Allow the questions below to get you thinking . . . and loving.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are you loving your neighbors? Are you letting this fundamental principle actually guide your life each day? When was the last time you paused to reflect on how you might better love the people in your life? How can you love your spouse today? Your children? Your parents? Your siblings? Your roommates? Your colleagues? Your employees? Your boss? Your waiter? Your literal neighbor next door? What can you do today to put into practice the command to love your neighbor?
PRAYER: Gracious Heavenly Father, I know I’m supposed to love my neighbor. This isn’t new. But I must confess that I can easily forget this simple commandment. Or I can allow myself to belief that if I’m generally “nice,” this counts as love. Forgive me for neglecting something so central to discipleship as the call to love.
Help me, dear Lord, to love my neighbors today. Give me eyes to see how best to care for them. Give me ears to hear what they’re really saying. Give me a heart of compassion, so that I might extend your love to them. I ask especially for fresh insight for how I might love those closest to me: my wife, my children, my colleagues, my extended family, my brothers and sisters at church.
As I care for people in tangible ways, may your love flow through me to others. Make me a channel of your love, dear Lord. Amen.