From the Heart
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)
When I travel to another part of the world and visit a church, I feel an instant affinity with people I don’t even know; but I know they’re Christians and I feel that bond. They may be a different color from me and speak a different language, yet I feel that connection. The Apostle Peter says that now that we’ve been born again, we have sincere love for one another. The love Peter is talking about here is brotherly love, which comes from the Greek word phileo, and it’s the kind of love I feel when I connect with another Christian. God wants us to go further than this phileo love, however. The rest of the verse says, “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” The Greek word for this kind of love is agape – and it’s the kind of intense, fervent love God has for us.
Loving each other intensely means serving one another, being patient and kind with each other, rooting for one another, and being interested in each other’s lives. We have no idea what’s going on in the life of the person we happen to be sitting next to in church, where they hurt, or how the enemy is attacking them. That’s why the Bible says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’” (Hebrews 3:13). When one stumbles, the other can pick him up, for two are stronger than one.
When was the last time we took time to go to another brother or sister in Christ and ask God for words to lift them up, or came alongside someone who was going through a trial of their faith? Many times we are so busy with our own lives, that we have no time for anyone else. How is that going to please our heavenly Father? He put us in his family, and he wants to see us love one another deeply, from the heart. This may seem like a tall order, but the only reason we are able to love our brothers and sisters in Christ in this way is because God is love and, by his Holy Spirit, he lives in us. Let’s ask him to give us a fresh baptism of his love today.
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 13.