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Love is Walking in Obedience

2 John 1:5-6
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love (NIVUK)

Love is a big subject. It stirs big emotions and the idea of love makes big money through advertising. But love is of God (1 John 4:7-8) who is far bigger than the distorted shapes of love which this world experiences. Indeed, He is love (1 John 4:16), and the only One who has the right to define it.

Love is both a statement of character, and an intentional action. As disciples of Jesus, we know that we should love each other; but what does that mean in practice? John reminds the lady that love is being practically obedient to whatever God commands. It was not a new idea; Jesus said it first (John 14:21).

Love is never selfish but always other-serving (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). The first 'other person' we have to serve is God; we love Him by agreeing with what He says and then doing what He commands. It is not an occasional religious ritual to impress Him or to demonstrate our pious credentials – it has to be an ongoing lifestyle. 'Walking in love' means everyday obedience, treating each other in the same way that God treats us.

The love of divine obedience is different from the love of human expediency. It achieves God's purposes in other people - rather than either giving people what they want (which may not be God's will for them) or using love as a manipulative tool to get what we want out of other people. We need to be reminded that love is not just a nice way for believers to relate with others, but it is God's command even when we do not feel like loving.

God of love. Thank You for loving me, and demonstrating Your love by sending Your Son to die for me. Forgive me for my lack of love, putting my ambitions and fear of losing relationships before obedience to Your commands. Help me to re-learn the importance of practical and obedient love so that Your will is done in the little bit of earth where I live and work, as it is in heaven. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams