Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NLT)
How are you at loving others? Usually, if we’re keeping our eyes on the Lord and spending time in His Word and praying, love for others flows out of us naturally as the water rushes down the Niagara Falls. But when our focus shifts off God and onto ourselves, well, that makes loving others a chore. We become defensive and easily offended. We worry that someone else’s good news might actually be bad news for us. We complain and get angry. Love others? Why? What have they done for me?
Which category do you fall into? Is God’s love overflowing from your life onto others, or would it be hard to know you’re a Christian from the way you treat others? Remember, God doesn’t require us to do anything in our own strength, especially loving others.
Our own meager attempts might feel shallow and selfish, but love empowered through God’s strength is genuine, compelling, and glorifies our Creator.
The beauty of confession is that it’s simple and complete. All we have to do is come before our heavenly Father, admit the sin, and ask for His forgiveness. He will always—one hundred percent of the time—forgive us. Always. Then we can ask Him to empower us, to be our strength in our weakness.
Sharing God’s love with others is the hallmark of Christianity. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. As you read through 1 Corinthians 13, ask God in which areas you fall short. Confess that as sin, then ask Him to fill you with His love to overflowing, and focus on those areas. It might help to memorize the particular verse or phrase where God is working in your life.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance… Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 NLT).
Lord, I praise You for being the God of love. You loved the world so much that you sent Your only son to die for us. That love is so amazing!
Lord, forgive me for not always sharing Your love with others. Help me to be able to forgive others as You forgive me.
Lord, I thank You for the times that You have helped me love when I was not feeling very loving. Specifically Lord, I thank You for…
Intercession (pray for others)
Lord, help _______ to be so overwhelmed with Your love that he/she wants to pour out Your love on others. Help _______ to be patient and kind; not to be jealous or boastful or rude. Help _______ never give up or lose faith, but instead be hopeful always and enduring through every circumstance. From 1 Corinthians 13
Lord, help me love like You as 1 Corinthians 13 says. Help me be so overwhelmed with Your love that I want to pour out Your love on others. I pray that You will help me be patient and kind; to not be jealous or boastful or rude. Help me never give up or lose faith, but instead be hopeful always and enduring through every circumstance. From 1 Corinthians 13
Excerpt from the Book, Start With Praise, by Sally Burke & Cyndie Claypool de Neve. Harvest House Publishers.
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Sally Burke is a dynamic speaker, teacher, co-author of Raise Them Up, Start with Praise and Unshaken, and President of Moms in Prayer International. Leading a global ministry, she oversees staff and directors who equip and encourage women in the transforming power of prayer. Sally is a former space shuttle engineer. She and her husband, Ed, have four grown children and three grandchildren.
Cyndie Claypool de Neve is the author of God-Confident Kids and co-author of Raise Them Up, Start with Praise and Unshaken. With a passion for prayer and teaching, the former journalist holds an M.A. in counseling psychology and currently works at a large church in California. Cyndie and her husband, Marcel, have two grown children.