When sin entered the world, our human bodies were subjected to its desires. It is our natural inclination to go against God, to choose our will instead of His. That’s why turning from sin can feel like suffering. It’s not fun to have to walk away from a conversation geared towards gossip. It can feel lonely to be the only one of your friends who is not drinking because you’re underage. Paul addresses this in verse 4 when he says that your friends might not understand why you’re living differently now because of Jesus. Clearly, being different isn’t a new concept. Christians have been living differently than the rest of the world for thousands of years! So, if you feel like the weird one in your friend group because of the way God has asked you to live, take heart. You are not alone.

I love the urgency in Paul’s words in verse 3. Life is too short to continue living apart from Christ. When we keep an eternal mindset, all the things we give up for Christ seem so insignificant. Suffering is an indication that we are going against our flesh and choosing Christ. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or painless, it just means that the outcome outweighs any momentary suffering we experience.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (verse 8).

Love is the reason that we are not condemned to eternal separation from God. Love is the reason we can forgive those who have hurt us and show grace even when it’s hard. In those moments when you feel mad at your friends for not understanding why you’re living differently, you can choose to love them instead. When we remember who we were before Christ, it’s easier to show grace to those who still don’t know them. Through the world’s eyes, living for Christ doesn’t make sense. It seems crazy to give up everything you want and submit to God. But we know the joy that comes with it. We get the gift of salvation, unconditional love, and spiritual gifts. That’s why Paul says to use our gifts to love others well. When we love well, we live out the Gospel.
This week, take the time to ask God what living for Him looks like in this specific season. Ask Him if there is anything you need to give up in order to love Him with your whole heart. Meditate on His love for you as His beloved child. Take delight in His love, and then share it with others.

Prayer

God, thank you for allowing me to live a life deeply rooted in you. Thank you for showing me grace when I fall short, and for loving me enough to call me yours. Would you come and show me how to live a life that honors you. Reveal anything that I need to let go of in order to love you with my whole heart. Help me to show others the grace that you have shown me.

 

Author | Emily Baker