Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21 - Claiming to Be in the Light

Today's Reading:
Isaiah 37:1-38:22
1 John 2:1-17
Psalm 144:9-15
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
1 John 2:9-11

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

Hate and darkness go together. Hate and light are contradictory. A hate or disregard for others is inconsistent with a claim to love God. You cannot hate others and embrace the light of Christ. Blindness toward the needs and concerns of others indicates blindness toward God. True love for God will always result in love, concern, and compassion for others.

Response and Action:
Hate is a strong word. Do I hate others? Who have I written off, or judged, or given up on? I need to be on guard for the subtle ways hate may be at work in my heart. To detest, disrespect, disregard, or dislike others may be subtle forms of hate.

I need to hold up my motives, feelings, and actions to the light of Christ's love so hate can be exposed for what it is. I need to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength; this will help me to love my neighbor as myself. By God's grace and the power of his Spirit, I need to cultivate compassion, understanding, sympathy, and love for others.

O God, help me to truly love you. Don’t let me be blinded or deceived by hatred. Teach me to love others as I follow the example and the commands of Christ Jesus. Forgive me for the times I claim to know and love you, but harbor hate toward others. Help me to walk in the light and to walk in fellowship with others. Give me a heart of compassion and concern for the interests of others. Help me to be patient and forgiving with others, as you are patient and forgiving to me. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  
Mark 12:29-31
29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."

Relational Masks: Removing the Barriers That Keep Us Apart
by Russell Willingham

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