This week I have been examining what it means to love one another. Jesus gave a new command to his disciples: “Love one another” (John 13:34). This is repeated in John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” So I have always thought that this means be nice to each other, forgive each other, encourage one another. I have seldom explored the aspect of love that involves surrendering to one another.
In 1 Corinthians 9:19 Paul says, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.” Paul is willing to surrender himself to others that they might find Jesus. This is love that puts aside self-concern for the sake of others.
The whole experience of life is how I exercise my free will. I have free will. This was given to all humans at the time of creation. I can please myself, or I can please others.
My closest relationship affords the opportunity to practice loving another. This can be demonstrated simply. When I find that Bonnie, my wife and ministry partner, is annoyed with some habit of mine, do I surrender my will to her or insist on my way? I love her by surrendering my right to continue the annoying habit.
Paul says in Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Putting someone else first is contrary to my self-centered nature.
Jesus’ command to love one another proves to be quite a challenge, but it is essential for his disciples. In John 13:35 Jesus concludes, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”