Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
—Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Love. Be devoted. Have compassion. Honor the need of someone else as more important than my own. The Holy Spirit calls me to love the way Jesus loved when He gave himself for me.
I miss seeing my family and friends. I'm shut up at home right now, healing from an illness that has robbed me of contact with those I love. I’ve been looking forward to the end of August because I believe my doctor will tell me that I can return to church and also spend time with those I miss. But the recent coronavirus surge may delay that hope. Sharing the love of Jesus in writing is not the same as being with those you’ve always encouraged and who have encouraged you. I try to share His love with those I reach out to on the phone, but it’s still not the same. I'm very grateful for the texts, calls, and cards I've received and for family and friends who have picked up a prescription or something to eat or even installed a microwave. But it is not like getting a hug or giving a hug.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others,” Paul wrote. “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ had” (Philippians 2:3-5, NLT).
It's easy to think about yourself when you don't feel great. But that is never beneficial, and it isn't what Jesus desires in any life. What was His attitude? Jesus humbly showed me that I was worth giving His life. How can I not realize the pain of others and give them His love? I'm so thankful that I'm healing! But I've experienced pain that has given me a new perspective and heart to encourage others that Jesus isn't just my healer. He is everyone's healer who believes.
"Love each other with genuine affection," Romans 12:10 reads in the New Living Testament. "Take delight in honoring each other."
Do I honor others without expectations? When I don't look for a specific response from others, I'm free to experience joy and delight in what I share. I try not to grade others and look for proof of how they react. I didn't have to measure up to receive Jesus's love. I pray that no one needs to measure up to receive love from me.
Only I allow the Holy Spirit to examine the motive of my heart and continually change me. I let Him renew my mind. It’s not my place to question anyone else’s intention. I can't change how someone else thinks. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. I can only love with the grace that Jesus unselfishly gave me.
My life is not about me and what I think I need to see in someone else. My life is about how Jesus can love through me. And it's not my place to attempt the Holy Spirit's work in someone else's heart. I have peace knowing it's not my responsibility. It's His.
There are days when I have little contact. When one quiet day stretches into the next, He’s with me encouraging me to pray for those He places in my heart. And that’s the best way to be devoted in His love—just to pray.