{1 John 3:11; ESV}

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Jesus has come to give us life, and we know that we have this life when we are connected to Him. How are we connected to Jesus? I believe it is through our faithful obedience that enables us to be connected to Jesus.

Our faithful obedience requires the alignment of our wills with God's will. This happens through prayer and through the study of Scripture. We need to know God's will if we hope to do God's will.

God's will is more than being morally upright. The religious leaders of Jesus' day were moral, but they did not walk in God's will.

To be in God's will means to care about the things and people He cares about. This will lead us to care for God's wonderful creation, to befriend the outcasts and rejects of society, and to help those who are in need. In other words we will live the life of Jesus. He is the source of the true life that we need.

What does this type life look like? How do we know if we are living the true life from Jesus? Consider this question for a moment: When do you feel the most alive?

If you are anything like me I would bet that you feel the most alive when you are doing things with or for other people. You may feel alive when you are with friends talking about the “good old days”. Perhaps you feel alive when you help your grandchildren make an exciting new discovery. Or maybe you have felt alive when you were able to help someone who really needed your help.

Love, which is the cornerstone of relationships, is essential for living true life. We see glimpses of this truth as we think about the experiences we have had in our lives, when we have shared our lives with others. True life is not something we can experience on our own.

The biggest obstacle we face in living a life of love is our selfishness. We like to have things our way, and it is hard for us to put other people ahead of ourselves. This reality makes living the abundant life of Jesus difficult. It is hard to love others when we love ourselves most of all.

In this struggle to love others we need to remember: Love is the lifeblood of eternal life. It is by loving others that we are able to live the life Jesus lived.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35; ESV)

Jesus explains that if we are going to obey Him, and if we are going to follow Him, then we need to love. Love must be the defining characteristic of our lives.

Eternal life will continue to flow through our veins as long as we continue to love. We need to love God and love people. Without love our lives we shrivel up and die. It is love that will keep us alive for eternity.

Questions to consider:

  • What is needed to live eternal life?
  • Why is love so important?
  • How has love helped you glimpse what true life is like?
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