Scripture Reading — John 15:9-17
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other. —
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35
"Love is the fountain and chief of all affections," writes Jonathan Edwards. This statement should not surprise anyone who knows Jesus. Quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus taught us, first, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and, second, to love our neighbor as ourself.
The apostle Paul said similarly, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). Not surprisingly, the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 begins with "love," and from this flow all the other qualities of Spirit-filled living: "joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
"It is true and clear from these Scriptures that the essence of all true religion lies in holy love," states Edwards. Love "represents the fountain from which all that is good proceeds."
Loving God and being loved by God, loving others-our spouse, children, family, church members, friends, coworkers, schoolmates, neighbors-in a way that reflects the love of God for us and allows people to experience the love of God through us, makes the fountain of love overflow!
Lord, we pray that our love may abound "in knowledge and depth of insight" so that we may be "filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ." Amen. Today for the month of July is written by Rev. Charles Geschiere of Grand Rapids Michigan.