Life is hard. Relationships are messy. How do we love one another and extend grace when we just don’t feel like it, or when it seems impossible given the current situation we are facing? How do we walk in love?
In reading through Ephesians 4:1-5:21, we find some answers as we look at two repeated words in this passage.
If we read through this passage and mark the repeated word love, we learn the following:
- we are called to bear with one another in love (4:1)
- we are to speak the truth in love (4:15)
- each member of the body (the Church) is to do their part, serve using their gifts, talents, and abilities so the whole body grows in love (4:15)
- we are reminded we are the beloved of God—we are loved (5:1)
- we are called to walk in love (5:2)
- we are called to love others as Christ has loved us (5:2)
If we read through this passage and mark the repeated word walk, we learn the following:
- we are called to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, as those who have received the gift of life and forgiveness through Christ (4:1)
- we are not to walk as the world does, futile in their thinking, darkened in their understanding, and alienated from God—as we once were (4:17)
- we are to walk in love as Christ has loved us (5:2)
- we are to walk as children of light—in what is good, true and right (5:7)
- we are not to walk as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (5:15)
Each of these verses brought these action words to mind: Remember, Renew, Respond.
Make the most of every opportunity to walk in love and begin to practice the following:
- Remember you are loved by God
- Renew your mind in God’s Word
- Respond like Jesus
Each moment when our “flesh” begins to rear its ugly head and we respond in ways that are not loving, we can take a moment to pause and remember we are deeply loved by God! We can begin each day by renewing our minds with the truth of God’s Word. We need to remind ourselves of who God is. When God’s character and nature is magnified, our sins become more evident. It’s easier to see where we are not loving others well.
We are renewed in our spirit as we rely on His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, at work within us. As we begin to do this, we will find ourselves responding more and more like Jesus.
Life is hard but we were not meant to walk it alone. We were created to be in constant fellowship with the Father, to rely upon and lean into Jesus’ presence, and to walk in step with the Spirit.
We were also created to live in community with other believers. We need one another!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 calls us to encourage one another. This word for encourage in the original language of Scripture is the word parakaleo meaning to call to one’s side, to come alongside another and help, comfort, aid, admonish, instruct, teach, console and strengthen.
In John 14:26 we read that the Holy Spirit, parakletes in the original language, comes alongside as our Helper to convict of sin, comfort, instruct, teach and guide us.
In Romans 15:4-5 we read that we have been given God’s Word, paraklesis in the original language, to instruct us, to encourage us, and to give us endurance and hope.
Throughout the New Testament, we find several mutuality commands or one anothers that show us how to translate love from a vague sentiment into concrete actions —enabling us to make love our aim (1 Cor. 14:1) and walk in love.
Will you join us over the next several weeks as we examine an aspect of love found in 1 Corinthians 13, the great love passage, and a corresponding mutuality command—one another. Let’s walk side by side together encouraging one another along the way and seeking to reflect Jesus to a hurting world in desperate need of God’s redeeming love and grace!
Rejoicing in Him!
Seven-week Bible study: Walk in Love: Learning to Love Others Better.
©2013 Susan Cady, susancady.com