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Walking a Disciple’s Walk, Day 9- Walk in Love: Our Charity

Day 9- Walk in Love: Our Charity

Part 1: The Lie vs. The Truth and Why the Battle Matters

Ashley Walizcek

The Lie: “I love Jesus, but how well I love others doesn’t really matter.”
Ways we may show we believe the lie:

•We prioritize winning arguments over building relationships that can weather disagreement well.
•We do not invest time into deep and vulnerable friendships with others, whether they be with family members, fellow believers, or non-Christian friends that are in need.
•We spend time berating and condemning brothers and sisters with our opinions on social media, forgetting their true identities and their claim to our kindness and respect.
•We believe that the Christian life can be lived all alone, on an island free of the inconvenience of others’ needs and agendas. “All I need is me and Jesus!” becomes less about depending on Him than it is about shutting others out of being an influence on us.
•We see our day-to-day lives through a self-focused lens where our individual needs, desires, interests, and hopes are the most significant thing on our minds.
•We forget that all of our words, actions, and decisions ultimately have ramifications on our partners, our families, our friends, our congregation, and even on our walk with the Lord.
•We do not practice hospitality when circumstances allow it and we have no intention to begin opening our hearts and homes in vulnerability because, after all, when situations are uncomfortable, it is always best to opt out.

The Truth: If we truly loved Him, our charity would be vitally important.

What God’s Word says:
“Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Romans 13:10

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Galatians 5:13-14

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:14-18

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-25

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
1 Peter 1:22

Why the Battle Matters:
It is no secret that Christians talk about love all the time; we preach about receiving God’s love, loving God in return, and loving one another. Yet I wonder how often we stop to think about exactly what the word “love” means in the Scriptures. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines love in this way: “Love, whether used of God or man, is an earnest and anxious desire for and an active and beneficent interest in the well-being of the one loved. Different degrees and manifestations of this affection are recognized in the Scriptures according to the circumstances and relations of life, however, the fundamental idea of love as expressed in the definition of it is never absent in any one of these relations of life, even though the manifestation thereof may differ.” In simpler terms, true love is always desiring and actively advancing the well-being of the object of our love.

Strong and lasting relationships must be built on the foundation of love; but, we may ask, how do we faithfully demonstrate love for God and others when there is so much working against us? We will discuss some answers to this question tomorrow, but let’s take a moment to orient ourselves to where we are as a culture and why it is so important that we understand what Scripture expects of us in our love for one another.

In this globalized culture of the 21st century, we face a quandary of human connection. On the one hand, we feel the temptation to be over-connected in superficial ways to the people around us. We scroll through the social media postings of people we barely know or in some cases have never even met. We share pictures of the food we ate on our vacation, quote the funny things our family said, and give our opinions on any and every topic to hundreds of other people in real time. At school or work or church, we meet companions from nations all across the globe and have created elaborate personal and professional networks. Name recognition has become paramount, somehow followed only by recognition of our affiliations (political, racial, religious, professional, etc.).

On the other hand, we also feel the temptation to remain disconnected in intimate ways from others. We prefer the collecting of virtual “friendships” to the challenge of building rich and deep companionship with other people face to face. We feel anxious to avoid any opportunity for others to see anything we find “messy” in our day-to-day lives because we are afraid of not measuring up to a standard or being perceived as less than the image we have worked so hard to portray. The intertwining of complex lives in marriage, friendship, and spiritual family seems to have largely fallen out of style, and we can easily find ourselves paying the price for it in loneliness, fear and ineffectiveness for the gospel of Jesus.

However, when we truly show up for our friends, ready to make any sacrifice for their temporal and eternal good, we push back against the lie that says our relationships are not foundational to our discipleship to Christ. Strong loving relationships allow us to share the gospel in clear and compelling ways. They allow us to influence others as they follow Jesus and to learn from both their triumphs and mistakes. Most importantly, they teach us about the heart of God to sacrifice to such a great extent to be in relationship with His people. In the act of desiring and pursuing others’ ultimate good, we show that love for others is an inestimably high calling, second only to our love for the Lord Himself.

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