Better together

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  (1 John 4:7-12)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’  (John 17:20-23)
The Bible doesn’t suggest we show love to the people around us. It isn’t a cute recommendation, and it isn’t just reserved for people who we especially like. It’s a command and it is intended to permeate every relationship we contribute to – especially those within our church family.

I’m not sure how it makes you feel to be commanded to do such a thing? Depending on how you’ve received love up until now, you may find that command an incredibly hard thing to take on board. If you’re being honest, you may look at some of the people in your church family and just not feel much love or delight at all for them!

But here’s the thing: God has chosen to show his love for us, and he has also chosen to reveal his love to the world through us. One of the key ways in which he achieves this is through the way in which we display his love towards one another within the context of our church family. Although we still make mistakes, as Spirit-filled people, we don’t operate with the same tools and perspectives that the world relies on. The result of this is that we can live in unity and harmony alongside one another with a greater measure. Something should be experienced in our church family that is deeper and richer than in all our other social group settings. How we choose to love one another and how we choose to model that sense of being united together as believers really is a megaphone that proclaims the Gospel to a hurt, lost and lonely world. That’s a powerful thing to consider today!

Everyday Church is made up of such a wide range of people, with a huge range of experiences and expectations, so it’s important to recognise that when we refer to love and unity we have different ways that we might express that. The Bible never tells us to point out the ways that people aren’t making us feel loved. It always tells us to take the initiative to love them in Jesus’ name!  Different though we are, it is crucially important for us to remember that we all start from the same place: fundamentally, we didn’t deserve to be the recipients of love from our Heavenly Father – but we have it in abundance! You and I were totally undeserving of the love that he bestows on us and truly we had no right to be invited into the fold. But through Christ, we are all welcomed in.

No matter how unlovable you think you are or unwelcome you might have felt through life – there is a place for you at the Father’s table. Every single one of us – yes, even you! In the same way, Jesus tells us to love and welcome one another
  1. What key aspects of your life have shaped how you show and receive love from people around you today?
  2. How do you allow those experiences to positively or negatively impact how you show love to your church family?
  3. Do you feel united with your brothers and sisters at Everyday Church? If not, what’s hindered that? How can you take the initiative to make your church a loving and welcoming community for everyone?
Father God, thank you for saving me. Even though I didn’t deserve it and I couldn’t earn it, you made a way for me to know that I am forgiven, loved and welcomed in. Thank you that you gave up your life for me. Help me this week to discover in a fresh new way, what riches are in store for me in being part of your family. Father, thank you that I can call you by that name – because I truly am your son or daughter. For your glory I pray this. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Adam Bream, who leads our Southfields venue.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel
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