Daily Devotional 1-31-20

It Costs to Love   
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Matthew 16:24

Love is the supreme ethic of the Christian faith!  From Genesis, in the Old Testament, through Revelation, in The New Testament, God plays out one song and one message—Love

The African culture in which I grew up did not frequently use the word “love.” We saw the actions of love but did not necessarily hear it. It was more of walking the talk. Then, I flew across the big pond into this nation and one of the surprises I still experience is how frequently we use the word love. “We love foods, sports, celebrities, puppies, and our moms. We love movies, nature, long walks on the beach, and everything in between. We are a culture, it seems, that is in love with being in love,” (Michael Kelley).  And, it seems, to say “love” is the defining ethic of the followers of Christ carries no weight. It may seem easy to love after the manner of the world, but Christian love costs.

In the texts above, Jesus gives the three conditions to be His follower: self-denial, carrying of one’s cross, and daily following Jesus. He then gives the identifying mark of His followers—Love. What Jesus is saying to us in these two scriptures is—it will cost us to love the way He loves. It will take self-denial, suffering (carrying your cross) and following Jesus in order to love God and people with the God-kind of love. The God-kind of love is what the world is in dire need of.   

The God-kind of love is sacrificial, demonstrative and takes initiative. It is the highest and best form of love. It gives without thinking of receiving. What exactly are the fruits or markers of this divine love? Paul takes time to list them for us: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” (1 Cor.13:4-8).

So, let me ask you: Is your love the God-kind? Do you see any of these fruits in the love you profess to have for your neighbor?

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, help me cultivate and grow in your kind of love.