By Jon Walker
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NIV)
The Bible teaches that you should take deliberate action toward loving your neighbor—in the same way you want to be loved by your neighbor.
Yet, God knows this is an impossible assignment unless you have his Spirit working within you, guiding and transforming you. It’s hard enough to love yourself, let alone the contrary (my polite Southern way of saying disagreeable) neighbor down the street.
You will be empowered to love your neighbor as you allow God to empower you; as you trust and obey (for there’s no other way) God’s leading in your life; as you purposefully give your whole being—heart, soul, strength, and mind—to God.
This brings you daily to the door of dependence upon God, a threshold you step through acknowledging that you need him to work through you. In doing this, you’re able to draw upon God’s strength and love; he becomes the power, the infinite love, within you to love others as yourself.
They may waste your love; they may discount your love; they may react angrily to your love; they may never understand your love, yet, your other-centered love demonstrates the depth and breadth of God’s love for us: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
God’s Word says God is transforming you from self-centered to other-centered, and that frees you to love without expecting anything in return.
Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.