I apologize that #OnlineBibleStudy for this week is just coming up on the blog today instead of Wednesday… My phone, which is where I do all my typing has issues (screen went blind) and I absolutely hate typing with my laptop. That and the fact that there’s no light and every time I get a chance to sit at a place where there is light, I get distracted with the noise and sound…I basically am a “loner kind of writer”, Â I switch off into myself when I write so I just couldn’t put anything down… And you know its Bible study, so I love being at a certain “place” when I share from my notes.
That said, this topic has refused to leave my heart/head and when that happens I feel terribly guilty if I don’t share on it… so here’s me just praying that God would help me despite the way I feel and may His words… the very words He wants to bring forth to hearts through this be shared in Jesus name. amen!
I am taking for granted that you are okay with the switch in dates and I am forgiven after my long explanation above (thank you!).
So let’s go on….
Last year during NYSC year in Ekiti, I was invited by one of my neighbors to a youth dinner her church was organizing and of course based on a corper who loves oshofree food and all, I went.
I knew that the church is kind of conservative and so I wore a gown and a jacket but I just didn’t tie my hair even though I knew that they do that. I can’t remember correctly now but maybe I was told to tie my hair (or not) but I ended up covering my hair with a scarf…
So I sat there, just looking at these ‘jim jim” brothers and sisters who were on skirts, and I remember just maybe saying in my heart that “these ones don’t know the truth”, I cant fit in with all their rules ohh, Just hmming and hmmming in my heart (that was my error number one, we have already established that “knowledge isn’t what builds the Church HERE in this post).
And as I sat there, I just suddenly began to hear these words in my heart so strongly “By this would all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”.
It was repeated over and over and over again in my heart. I didn’t even know where that passage was in the Bible but I knew that it was God trying to get my attention.
And so I repented and cried out to God in my heart, telling Him how sorry I was… and from that moment on, I just began to see these people as family – these people who didn’t have the kind of freedom I believed in (1Corinthians 8 deals with this in case you are interested)…
From that moment on, I was overwhelmed by a desire to just serve them in love.
I poured out drinks on the table I was seated at with others, laughed and smiled and refilled cups,.. and I just knew it wasn’t my flesh doing all that (I don’t really have a servant’s heart in serving as a default mode, God’s working on this).
God had just corrected a fundamental part of my life and I just began to see CLEARLY and act accordingly.
I won’t say that I haven’t defaulted from this word He drilled into my head since then (I have spoken rudely to a sister here and there and have been called to order by the Holy Spirit) but I believe that what God taught me last year is a fundamental part of Christianity and our lives as believers.
One thing satan is trying so hard to take away from the Christian fold is our unity with one another.
Of course satan knows that where disunity thrives, the Spirit cannot dwell therein and disunity is a trigger for every other sin to come in.
The word of God in disunity won’t even give as much insight as it should.
Channels to hear God speak will be blocked….
And so again, from Tuesday this week, I have been hearing “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”- John 13:35
So I have tried a bit to delve into this commandment from Jesus to see what it means for us in today’s world.
And yes, the words to love one another is a COMMANDMENT, not a suggestion.
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down oneâs life for oneâs friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
This is my command: Love each other.”
So all those stuff we do as believers today, pushing out this one because she doesn’t dress like us, or he doesn’t talk like us… IT IS NOT OF GOD.
Even the ones we do that so so and so have offended us so we don’t want to give room for any other Christian to offend us… it is not of God.
I went back to study the passage that gave rise to this commandment in John 13… so let’s do this together shall we?
“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.Â It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas,[b]son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.Â Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciplesâ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”
So I got to that point and I stopped…
The very next thing after the Word says after it says that Jesus knew what He had in God and as God was that He took off His robe and got down to wash His disciples feet.
You’d think that the next thing would be that He acted in line with who He was, but no, instead He acted as a servant.
So the first thing I noted is that ;LOVE IS SERVICE. This same love Jesus wants us to use in living one another is one of service.
And this service isn’t to be done only to the Christians we think are good in our sight, but TO EVERY OF OUR FELLOW BRETHREN.
Jesus washed Judas’ feet too even though He was troubled in His spirit about Judas’ certain betrayal.
And so, if God Himself could serve in love, who are we really?
And then I noticed something else, Jesus was very intentional about what He was doing.
He took off His robes, tied a towel around His waist, took a wash basin and got down to washing and drying His disciples feet.
If we keep waiting for love to come from our heart for that Christian sister who gossiped about us, it may never come. We must reach deep into the Spirit of love inside of us and be intentional about letting Him help us love this sister.
I know we do the rituals of “washing of feet” these days and that is okay, I guess? (I don’t know too much about all these rituals), but I believe that when Jesus said “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.Â (Verse 15), He meant something deeper.
He meant as I have served you in love, not counting my greatness or :bigness” so also should you serve your brothers and sisters in love.
And if we understand this in this regard, then it would make more sense that Jesus actually thinks that “this LOVE is the only reason why men would say and believe that you are my disciples.
As those words in verse 35 rang through my head this week, it kept ending at “BY THIS… BY THIS…:
Jesus was saying by just this one thing would all men know that you are my disciples.
I am sorry but it Â is not by your gifts in God’s Spirit…
It is not your prowess in your writing ministry…
It is not even by the fact that millions are slain when you minister…
BY THIS LOVE… ONLY BY THIS LOVE SHALL MEN KNOW AND SAY THAT YOU ARE A DISCIPLE OF MINE”
So where does this leave us with all that is happening in the Church today?
I know some persons have been hurt so bad in the Christian family but is your decision not to associate closely with other Christians an answer to Jesus’ prayer for us to be one as He and the Father are one..
“Â I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are oneâas you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
Is what you are doing – taking the sins of one to divide the body pleasing to the Father?
You might say that you are hurting no one but what does Jesus think?
Do you think that He is happy that you are not letting the Spirit of love constrain you?
What about the ones who are the ones who do the hurting?
You speak rudely to your fellow believers, saying that they are not close enough to you and so you can be brash to them (I’m convicted here).
You go around spreading sister so so and so gist, saying all the bad things she has ever done, using her mistakes and past to judge her present…
Forming cliques you call “like minded” with you in Church, all the others don’t deserve to come close to you…
Driving off with wind screen rolled up without asking that brother who is on leggedez benz if he is going your way…
So many things are so not in line with “BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES…:”
You prefer to argue about doctrine than to keep quiet in love…
As I am typing all these things, I am also being convicted in more ways than one.
We have to go back to taking Jesus’ words seriously.
If you really claim to be a disciple of Jesus, that you know Him and love Him, let it show by the only way that matters to Jesus, by your love for one another.
Disunity should have no place among us.
Much less strife and arguments and all what not…
Please study John 13, John 15 and John 17 for yourself, just so that you tap into Jesus’ heart and what matters to Him in the life of His Church – the Church He died for.
As you study, allow the Holy Spirit to point out things you need to correct and work on.
Cry out to Him in your heart for forgiveness and pray for grace to love like He wants you to love.
Lord help us, in every way that we have not been acting in love, show us, wash us off of our biases…biases that don;t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Teach us to love like you want us to do..
Permeate the body of believers world wide with your love…help us Lord.
Encircle me round about with your Spirit of love and may I do no different than what the Spirit says to do, in Jesus Name, amen.
The Excellence of Love
13Â If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not[a]love [for others growing out of Godâs love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].2Â And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing.3Â If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4Â Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud orÂ arrogant. 5Â It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6Â It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7Â Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
8Â Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away. 9Â For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete]. 10Â But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete andÂ partial will pass away. 11Â When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12Â For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. 13Â And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of Godâs love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13