Loving Your Neighbor
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mar 12:31 ESV)
We are to love all people as ourselves, but this verse points particularly to those who live in close proximity to us. Our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. It is easy to love someone who you don’t have to be around much. There is little time for your personalities to clash. On the other hand, your personality will eventually clash with someone you see everyday. It might even clash everyday. In order to love these people we must deny ourselves and consider them better than ourselves. We must love them with the godly love that Jesus gives us through His Spirit.
Christians must, especially, learn to lay theological issues aside for the unity of the body of Christ. So what if our opinions differ on election or spiritual gifts? All that matters is that we love the same Jesus. I do not support apostasy, but it is not necessary to believe every doctrine to be a Christian.
It has been my experience that, while practicing God’s presence, loving others comes more naturally. When I am not practicing God’s presence, my flesh is more likely to react. I don’t need to force myself to love others. Instead, as I am walking in His presence, He is filling me with love overflowing and His love naturally spills over to those around me.
Let’s acknowledge before God that it is impossible for us to have His perfect love, unless He pours it out on us richly. He is always ready to give us good things.