Shelby G. Floyd
God’s people must learn by practice to love one another and pray for one another. Nothing in the world will convince outsiders that we are truly the disciples of the Lord more than visible, genuine love and affection among brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). It was reported to have been said by outsiders in apostolic times, “Oh, how those Christians love one another.”
When the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the congregation at Philippi, he publicly declared his love for them: “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). He also stated that it was right for him to feel this way about them, “because I have you in my heart” (Philippians 1:7). We will not develop the love of God in our relationship with each other until we have each other in our hearts.
The way we can indwell in each other’s hearts is by praying for one another at all times and under all circumstances: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
We also develop this love for one another by caring for one another in our material and spiritual needs. The congregation at Philippi had cared for Paul in his needs again and again. And Paul had always shared with them in their spiritual needs: “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:14-19).
Let us learn to love one another by habitual practice, so when we think of one another we will have a good memory of each other and thank God, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). *
* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142