Ever notice how the Christian life is all about relationships?
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
More important that stuff, status, or accomplishment are the relationships we hold in our lives – both with the Lord and with others. There are 59 references in the New Testament that deal specifically with our relationship with one another. >>> 59!! <<<
Although some of the verses may use the same words, it’s always important to read them within the context of the chapter to gain full perspective. And for sake of our attention span, here are the first 15…
1. “…have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:50)
These are the last words of Christ to his disciples just before he was transfigured. And in this verse He called his disciples “salt.” Disciples of Christ are to be a light to the lost world, salt or a good testimony, and peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
2. “…wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
Just as Jesus stooped down in humility and served His disciples, we ought also to serve one another with the same selfless humility.
3. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34a)
4. “…Love one another…” (John 13:34b)
5. “…Love one another…” (John 13:35)
6. “…Love one another…” (John 15:12)
7. “…Love one another.” (John 15:17)
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples and said it as a command. We are commanded by Christ to love one another as He loves. This Christ-like love means we put other’s needs above our own, we are considerate and caring, we sacrifice our own wants and needs over another’s… all willingly, without reservation, complaint, or for self-gain. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples…”
Jesus takes this command even further in Luke 6 telling us to not just settle for loving those who are loving and kind to us. But true love is loving the unlovable, the undesirable and even our enemies. “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?… And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same….love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again…”
8. “Be kindly affectioned one to another…” (Romans 12:10a)
As a mother cares for her nursing baby with a fervent, tender love, so ought we to be to one another.
9. “…in honour preferring one another;” (Romans 12:10b)
Simply put, this is deferring to one another… what are their wishes and desires and how can I meet them? It’s respecting each other regardless of whether they have earned it or not. We may not always agree, but we should endeavoure to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! It’s the opposite of pushing or plotting to get our way.
10. “Be of the same mind one toward another…” (Romans 12:16)
Each one of us is in a different place of sanctification. Yet there is always unity in the Spirit.
11. “…love one another…” (Romans 13:8)
Here Paul is talking about how we fulfill the law by loving one another. Christ died for us, not out of debt but out of love. No one owes us anything…. we are so undeserving; we are indebted! And with such a debt, is it unreasonable for us to love others the same as Christ loves us?
12. “Let us not therefore judge one another…” (Romans 14:13)
The rest of the verse says, “but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Perhaps our judgments should not be directed at our brother or sister, but let it be toward the adversary. I’ve learned through the years that most people are hurting to some degree. What they need most is love, prayer, and encouragement to fight the good fight.
13. “…receive ye one another, as Christ also received us…” (Romans 15:7)
Paul begins this chapter by exhorting the strong to bear the weak, and to please others, not ourselves, and to edify one another after Christ’s example. This is how we receive one another so that we “may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs 6) We come from all walks of life, many from differing pasts, stages of life, and nationalities, yet we are called by the same Lord.
14. “…admonish one another…” (Romans 15:14)
Webster defines admonish as to warn of a fault; to reprove with mildness; to counsel against wrong practices; to caution or advise; to instruct. This should always be done in fear and humility with the other’s best interests in mind and for their own spiritual well being.
15. “Salute one another with an holy kiss.” (Romans 16:16)
Whether our culture is a kiss on each cheek or a hand shake, when we see a fellow disciple, whether in public or in the assembly, our connection in Christ should be so powerful that we cannot but smile and greet them with love. They, too, are the beloved of God, joint heirs of Christ, and commissioned with the same purpose.
To be continued…