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Welcome to the year 2021. Let us make this year all about “Greater Love”. Last year we were all looking for perfection in our circumstances, the sovereign Lord changed it to perfection in our relationship with Him. What happened in 2020 is the kind of stuff that moves people to seek God. I trust that many who have genuinely sought God in this past year had found Him. My prayer is that every relationship with God, no matter how shaky it is now, will be perfected by God’s grace in Jesus’ name. Trials strengthen our faith, no doubt. Mine has been strengthened in the past year, I pray yours have been too. The struggle continues, but the Lord is still on His throne and His word tells us “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” – Hebrews 11:6 (KJV). He will take care of us; our role is to press on and do what He is calling us to do. I am personally excited about where the Lord is taking us this year. We need to move beyond our corner and extend our hands of fellowship and love to others.
One of the basics of Christianity taught by our Lord Jesus Christ is love. A Pharisee had asked Him in Matthew 22:36 (NIV), “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” His answer in Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) was “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The question here was about the greatest commandment, and the Lord just pointed out to everyone listening that, it is all about love. Love for God and love for others. Then in John 15:13, our Lord added another caveat, Greater Love. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13 (KJV). This verse suggests the idea of how much we love. It tells us that some acts of love are greater than others. So, there is the possibility that we believe that we love but may not be loving enough. What yardstick do we use in measuring our love for God and for others?
I read about the story of a little boy who was so enamored with growing that he made his own special ruler with which he measured himself daily. From his point of view and based on his measuring ruler, he believed he was getting bigger. One day his father watched him doing his thing and asked him what was he doing? He responded that he was measuring himself so he can watch himself grow. His father looked at his measuring ruler, left and returned with a with a yardstick. He told his son to stand beside the yardstick and to the boy’s greatest disappointment, he discovered he had not grown much from what the doctor had told him a year before. It revealed a big problem for the boy, he had been measuring himself with wrong yardstick.
Brothers and sisters, we have the same problem. One little act of love and we pat ourselves on the back and believe we have arrived. Our Lord Jesus Christ has established a proper yardstick with which we can measure our love growth. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The idea of laying down our lives for our friends speaks to self-sacrifice. Are we willing to give up our sense of self, our sense of security, and our sense of self-sufficiency to engage in the life of another? That is greater love. This is our ultimate goal as Christians; this is our perfect love. Our challenge is to respond to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ to exhibit that greater love. We are called to a Greater Love and it is time for us in this new year to begin to make that move towards that greater love. We must begin to move from our “no love” situation into a life filled with selfless love. Let us move from our resting place of little love and move towards our calling of greater love. We have not been called to love our family alone, we have not been called to love our friends alone, and we have not been called to love God alone. Our calling is to love our enemies and bless them that curse us. Also, the Bible teaches us that “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” – 1 John 4:20 (KJV). Those of us whose lives have been transformed through being born again must have a new attitude toward other children of God. Having experienced Christ’s sacrifice first hand, we must be ready to live our lives sacrificially.
Are you ready this year to show greater love? Start from your corner, but do not stay too long there. Let us embark on this journey together. I am called, you are called, we are all called to this noble idea. Make up your minds today to live a life of greater love and you, surely, will never regret it. Be blessed! – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya