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Learning to Defer


John 15:12-17

Verse 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.


We continue looking at what it means to love each other in the Church. Today we start talking about loving enough to defer to one another.


Our key verse for the day is often used solely with the understanding that we die for another. But in reality we learn, through looking at Christ’s life, that it also is talking about what it means to lay down our desires for another. Of course this is while remaining in God’s will, not a permission slip to an abuser or such. This principle of loving one another is proven through our actions and words. It is about putting another person’s needs before our own. Jesus knew that we are given to thoughts of ourselves and our wants. This command to love other believers is a way of pointing out that we need to stop being so selfish.


In any grouping of people there will be many different views and preferences. The matter of love comes up when we ask ourselves which is more important to us, the people or the preference. This is a time when we need to be intentional about our thinking and acting. Is our love of self so strong that we can’t defer to another in the color of the walls or the type of carpet? Does it really mean more to us to have our way about something so temporal? Is paint color more important than people? This is why Jesus knew it was important for Him to command us to love each other.


He had to command it because left to our own desires we would choose ourselves over others almost every time. He commanded us to love because He had a plan for the Church that would supersede the thoughts of man. He knew that it was the love shown from Christian to Christian that was going to be a witness to the world of who He is and that we are His (John 13:35). He needed us to know just how serious He is about our loving each other, He didn’t ask that we love each other, He commanded it!


We can say we abide in Christ and His love all we want to but until it is showing up in our relationships within the Church we are not fully living as His people. That is the real reason our Churches aren’t living abundantly in Him. If we want to abide in Him as a Church, we need to choose to love each other.


Making It Personal

What choice could you have deferred in a church relationship that would have shown the love of Christ? Why is making the choice to love so hard? What action of love do you need to make today?


Making It Personal Kids

Why does Jesus tells us that we should not always want our own way? Is it easy to let someone else get their way? When is a time we shouldn’t let someone else have their way?


Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for giving us people to love. Forgive us the times we have not been loving to those You have given us to love. May we learn to love as You have commanded us to love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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