“Little Children, Love One Another”
By: Richard W. Greene
There is a story about the Apostle John, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, who when he was very old and unable to walk, would stand before the congregation to speak with God’s people. He only had enough strength to say one sentence, to give them one word from the Lord. The word he would tell them was, “Little children, love one another!”
Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one
another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love
one for another” (John 13:34-35).
Love is the mark that we are true disciples of Jesus.
Sometimes it is difficult to love one another. We do not always agree with one
another, or share the same values and priorities as one another. Many of us
have been hurt, or abandoned, or abused, and even violated by people we trusted
and loved. Often, the people closest to us have inflicted great pain on us. I
know that many of you have suffered terrible things in your lives. This can
cause us to hurt others by saying unkind things about them, or wishing them
evil. But as followers of Jesus, we are commanded to love one another even as
Jesus has loved us.
We can see this love demonstrated in the life of the early
Church, especially in Acts 2:42-47. There we read that the followers of Jesus
were devoted to one another, sharing their meals and homes with one another,
praying for those who were sick or discouraged, and even selling their
possessions to care for any who might be in need. Their love was evident to all
who saw them and was a great testimony to those outside the Church.
How can we love one another as they loved one another? Their
love was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Jesus promised that after
He returned to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit to His disciples. Even
as the Father is God, and Jesus the Son is God, so also the Holy Spirit is God,
the third person of the holy trinity. It is the Holy Spirit within us Who
guides us, comforts us, and empowers us to live as Jesus called us to live.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will have a supernatural ability to
love one another and to even love our enemies and those who hurt us. This kind
of love, the same love Jesus has for us, is impossible without the Holy Spirit.
But if you believe in the Lord Jesus and trust Him for your salvation, then you
can receive the Holy Spirit and fulfill Jesus’ command to love one another even
as He has loved you. All you need to do is ask the Father, and He will give you
the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
Many years ago, I was in India in a rural village area. One
afternoon I went for a walk. It began to rain. A poor woman saw me walking in
the rain and motioned for me to come and sit under the shelter of a roof
attached to the very small hut in which she and her family lived. This family
was so poor they did not even own a chair for me to sit on, and I had to sit on
a log. She spoke no English, and I did not speak her language. As we sat
together under this small roof, with her husband, son, and mother, the woman
smiled at me, excited and happy to have me in her home. I will never forget the
expression of joy on her face as I sat there. I prayed and asked the Lord for a
blessing from Him for her and her family. But how could I bless them if I could
not speak their language? After a short time, the woman saw me holding my Bible
and indicated to me that she also had a Bible. I somehow communicated to her
with my hands that I would like to see her Bible. She went inside her hut and
came out with it. The Bible was wrapped in a cloth, perhaps the most expensive
thing she owned. The woman knelt before me and carefully, reverently unwrapped
the Bible, handing it to me with great care and respect, as though it was her
most precious possession. While she had gone to get her Bible, I had opened my
Bible and asked the Holy Spirit to give me a blessing for this woman and her
family. The Spirit showed me a verse of Scripture from 1 Chronicles 17:27,
which reads, “Now therefore let it please You, O Lord, to bless the house of
Your servant, that it may be before You forever: for You bless, O Lord, and it
shall be blessed forever.” When I read that verse, I knew it was the blessing the
Lord had chosen and prepared for this precious little family. I opened the
woman’s Bible to the verse and pointed to it, indicating to her that this verse
was for her and her family. She read it to them with tears, kissing the verse
many times. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit came upon all of us, and we felt the
presence and indescribable love of Jesus in our midst. There was so much joy
and peace in Christ’s love that I felt as though we were taken to some special
place in heaven. We were all weeping with joy at the greatness of God’s love
for us. I remember thinking during that moment that I never wanted to leave
that place where Jesus’ love was so real.
Loving one another as Christ has loved us is not humanly
possible. Jesus’ love is so great and pure and unconditional, that we sinful
people cannot know it and experience it unless the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
By simple faith, you can receive the Holy Spirit, and as you do you can know
the love of Jesus. It is a love that forgives and cleanses us from all our
sins. It is a love that overcomes all our fears and hurts and delivers us from
the darkness that is in the world. And it is a love that will empower us to
love others as Christ has loved us. This is Jesus’ greatest commandment for us.
Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit, and remember the
Apostle John’s words: “Little children, love one another!”
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.