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Walking a Disciple’s Walk, Day 10- Walk in Love: Our Charity, Part 2

Day 10: Walk in Love – Our Charity
Part 2: Devotional Reflections
Ashley Waliczek

Reflection:
Over the past few years, I have walked through some of the darkest emotional times of my life, and, by God’s grace, I have been held up and pushed forward by so many relationships in my life that kept me running to Him for strength. Even now, when I find myself edging toward a spiral of discouragement, the specific moments I rehearse the most often in my mind are those when others stepped into my world and prioritized the well-being of a friend who could offer little in return.

I remember my pastor’s wife baking me an apple pie because she knew how terribly I was missing spending the holidays in the kitchen with my own mom during a season of restricted travel. I remember sitting cross-legged on my kitchen floor, sobbing, as a panic attack gripped my body to the point where I struggled to breathe. Shaking, I video-called a mom-friend who prayed over me, patiently sat with me, made me take deep breaths, and encouraged me to trust in the Lord’s strong love for my children even in my own weakness. I remember one of my closest friends coming over at night in pajamas to get me through a long evening alone with a colicky newborn. Another dear friend once showed up in the middle of the night with my favorite ice cream in hand so we could get through a particularly hard week with a hug and a chat. I wept with joy when their cars pulled up to the driveway and thanked God for friends who became family.

These stories do not even take into account all of the people in my circle who have offered meals, blessed us financially when we experienced a challenging job loss, helped us move and paint our house, passed us their hand-me-downs, babysat our children, and, most importantly, prayed for us and pointed us to the Lord and His faithfulness. I have shared them here because I find that the moments I remember most are the ones that may not have seemed that significant to the giver at the time. However, to me, the receiver, they are a treasure trove of memories that remind me I am loved. They remind me of the blessing it is to be part of the family of God and to be loved by Him even at my weakest. They remind me every day that small things done with great love are the biggest things of all.

Yes, love might be as simple as writing a thoughtful note to a discouraged brother or sister, but it also could be as challenging as undergoing a surgery to provide something that will save their failing body. Love may require the giving up of your status, your property, your comfort, or even your life. Love can give the deepest joy while also causing the deepest pain. But, one thing is sure, love will ask something of us that requires our concern for another to outweigh our own desires.

When the enemy attacks us, as believers, we need to know there are brothers and sisters ready and willing to bear us up before God in prayer and walk beside us in encouragement and correction. Would we go into battle with the enemy’s troops alone with no comrades? Can we stand idly by when the brothers and sisters who sit beside us to worship each Sunday face the perils of temptation, discouragement, rebellion, or disease without a spiritual family to depend on?
Our love for our brothers and sisters—our deep desire for their flourishing and our real sacrifices to promote their welfare—is a profound demonstration of the heart of God toward us. Without it, our intentions to follow Christ as His disciples will be just that: intentions. As 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” We are truly empty, truly impoverished, and truly purposeless without love.
As through the power of the Spirit we work to show real love to the people in our lives, we grow closer to our Savior and we begin to appreciate more the incredible sacrifice He made to love us. Let us meditate on these familiar words from the apostle Paul as we ask the Lord to help us follow in His steps:
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Philippians 2:1-8
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“The Holy Ghost alone can teach men how to love, and give them power to do so. Love’s art is learned at no other school but at the feet of Jesus, where the Spirit of love doth rest on those who learn of him. Beloved, the Spirit of God puts love into us, and helps us to maintain it…. Love makes us love; love bought us, sought us, and brought us to the Saviour’s feet, and it shall henceforth constrain us to deeds which else would be impossible. You have heard of men sometimes in a mad fit doing things that ordinary flesh and blood could never have performed. Oh to be distracted from selfishness by the love of Christ, and maddened into self-oblivion by a supreme passion for the Crucified. I know not how otherwise to put my thoughts into words so that they may hint at my burning meaning. May the Lord of love look into your very eyes with those eyes which once were red with weeping over human sin: may he touch your hands with those hands that were nailed to the cross, and impress the blessed nailmarks upon your feet, and then may he pierce your heart till it pour forth a life for love, and flow out in streams of kind desires, and generous deeds, and holy sacrifices for God and for his people.
Charles H. Spurgeon, “Love’s Labours,” Sermon No. 1617, Accessed at: https://ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons27/sermons27.

Hymn: “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”
By John Fawcett

Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.

When we are called to part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
our courage by the way;
while each in expectation lives
and waits to see the day.

From sorrow, toil, and pain,
and sin, we shall be free;
and perfect love and friendship reign
through all eternity.

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