Loving Your Neighbor

In fact He absolutely adores you!! He says that His thoughts for you outnumber the grains of sand that are on this earth! (I know right, that is crazy!) He calls you His own child! And the main thing He asks of you is to love Him, to love yourself and to love others.

Let’s be real… I know for me, it is definitely hard to love certain people at certain times and sometimes I struggle with the concept of love. At times I forget that loving my neighbour requires a lot more then just tolerating someone, or just smiling at a friend as you walk passed them. Loving is a lot deeper then liking a person. I’m not talking about the romantic, cute, fuzzy side of loving, haha, no, I’m talking about the deep genuine friendships you have with people.

So how exactly do we truly love others? If you’ve grown up in church your whole life like I have I’m sure you’ve heard the verses “…Love your neighbour as yourself…” -Mark 12:31 or “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others… Love never fails…” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8 A lot of these verses I knew by memory because it was said to me over and over growing up. The truth is I never really had the revelation and understanding of them until now as I’ve matured, and this is what I’m going to share with you…

1. Realise that you are loved by our Father. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.” This means before you could even think about being kind to someone or being the light to your family and friends, GOD LOVED YOU! The reason why this is so important is because once you realise it, you can wake up everyday knowing that you are loved. You are cared for. You are adored. I know for me after having that revelation, all I want to do is just show others God’s love, so they can experience this amazing love!

2. Actions speak louder than words “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” -1 john 3:18. God clearly wants us to show His love to people through what we do. That could look like helping your parents with the chores around the house, hugging your friend a little bit longer then you normally would, staying behind at church or epic and helping pack down, or hanging out with a friend more then you usually would. There’s so many ways we can show love to people. God also says not to not just love people through our actions but also through truth (The Bible). Meaning there are so many verses in the bible that talk about what it means to love people and how Jesus loved others, and we can learn so much from that. This leads onto my next point…

3. Have the characteristics of love embedded in everything you do and who you are. There are many verses in the bible about love but there’s one verse that I think everyone should memorise and should live out and that is 1 Corinthians 13:4. It breaks down the qualities of what love is (So who Jesus is.) Love is patient, kind, protects, always trusts, always hopes, perseveres. It doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, isn’t proud, keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with truth. Love never fails. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all memorised this verse and everyday tried to live out those qualities and apply it to our friendships and relationships. I know none of us are perfect. We all stumble and fall short, but God knows we are only human and He still loves us! Scenario: if there’s that one person that just gets on your nerve at school or in your family and you literally can not stand being around them. This verse says “love is patient, love is kind” then ask God to help you be patient and kind and He will! Don’t forget the Holy Spirit lives in you, so it is definitely possible to be kind to that person.

So don’t forget God loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life! You are amazing and He has called you to love Him, love yourself and love others.

Shalom Teikamata
Epic Youth

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