Devotional for September 03, 2007

 

Led to Love

 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. –1 John 4:7 (NKJV)

 

This familiar exhortation to love others comes to us from the pen of the apostle John. We frequently refer to John as ‘The Apostle of Love’ and with very good reason. His first epistle alone contains the word ‘love’ or its equivalent fifty-six times in just five short chapters. The theme of love also has a prominent place in John’s gospel, including its best-known passage, For God so loved the world that He gave . . . (John 3:16 NKJV).

 

But John wasn’t always such a loving individual. Luke’s gospel gives us an interesting snapshot of John when he began to follow Christ. Notice how he reacted to a village of people that had rejected the gospel message that he had shared with them:

 

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.’ (Luke 9:54-55 NKJV)

 

We also discover in Mark’s gospel that Jesus had given John and his brother, James, the nickname ‘Sons of thunder,’ presumably because of their fiery disposition to judge others (Mark 3:17). This shows us that John had started out with a somewhat judgmental and volatile heart, but over the years, it had been tenderly transformed through continual exposure to the Lord of love.

Lives that are yielded to Christ become more and more loving. Initially, a believer might be quick to call down judgment on others, but over time, the transforming influence of Jesus softens a heart and fills it with gentleness and kindness. This ought to cause us to pause and ponder where we are at in this process. Do we resemble a son of thunder or are we known and identified by our love toward others?

 

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