And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. 1 John 4: 21
Those who love the Lord Jesus will know how they are supposed to act: they are to love God and their neighbour. That was the message delivered on Sunday, 4 January. As ministers elaborated on the message, members heard that the spirit glorified the Lord; our love for the Lord becomes stronger and stronger; and how does this love for God come to expression?
In the first days of the new year we are often curious as to what the future will bring. In one or the other, cares and fears may arise. At such times we need good advice! There is one to whom we can always turn for good counsel, namely the holy spirit. Jesus expressed this as follows, “He will guide you into all truth … and He will tell you things to come” (John 16: 13). The holy spirit thus also speaks about the future – and our future is to be caught up to God on the day of the Lord.
In order that we may prepare ourselves for this future, the holy spirit guides us and helps us to know the Lord Jesus better and better. The better we know Jesus, the more we will love Him. The foundation for this insight—which leads to love—is the awareness of that which Jesus has done for us.
During the Christmas season in which we still find ourselves, people often talk about love, especially as they prepare for the celebration of Christmas—often referred to as the feast of love. When we talk about our preparation for the return of Christ, we are also talking about love! It is the commission of the Apostles to strengthen the bridal congregation in her love for Jesus Christ so that this love may prompt the corresponding actions. Let us remain in this love because “he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4: 16). The worthiness of the bride will be measured by her love for God, for Jesus Christ, and her neighbour.
Our love for God comes to expression when we:
- inquire into the will of God and make the endeavour to fulfil it – not by force, but out of love.
- not only come to the Lord with petitions, but increasingly thank him with all our heart.
- keep the vows we have made to God.
Our love for Jesus Christ comes to expression when we:
- model our lives on the example of Jesus.
- take his word – the gospel – seriously and put it into practice (John 14: 23)
- look forward to his return and prepare ourselves for it.
Our love for our neighbour comes to expression when we:
help bear our neighbour’s burdens. Let us do this first and foremost in the congregation. This burden is comprised of everything that depresses us and prevents us from moving forward. This also means that we must perceive the suffering of our neighbour.
- make time to listen to our neighbour.
- intercede in prayer for our neighbour.
Our love for God – and thus also for Jesus Christ – can therefore never be separated from the love for our neighbour.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle