Our mission is to encourage, prepare, and connect women worldwide to impact their communities with the love of God.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NRSV).
“To grow in love is the most significant growing we can do.” – Wolfgang Eckleben
How do you evaluate the quality of your love? Isn’t love “all you need” like the Beatles proclaim? It is true that it is tricky to measure a concept like brotherly love. Asking the wrong questions can very quickly make us focus on ourselves. Or throwing the word “love” around flippantly (in certain cultures, we say “I love” chocolate, sports and movies) can be equally risky concerning clarity of what it means to truly love well.
If we do not know what we believe about love, what to focus on and where to look, we will get carried away and thrown off track by the difficulties, the business, and the noise of our lives. The stakes are made clear by Saint John of the Cross when he says that “In the evening of life, we will be judged by love”. That means what matters in the end is not how much we have done, but how much we have loved.
Accordingly, Jesus even gives the world permission to judge the disciples’ faith by how well they love one another (John 13:35)! And during that same discourse in the Upper Room, Jesus instructs his disciples in the art of loving well by using the metaphor of the vine and branches. If we are rooted in Him, there will be life and much quality love!
Consider the following guiding values about love that are found in John 15:1-17, which provide the context for today’s verse. Pick a person in your life and prayerfully consider what it would look like to love this person well this week by putting one of these values into practice regarding this person.
Loving well is:
- Disciplined: Our abiding in God’s commandments (His Word) helps us to understand how full His love is.
- Fruit-bearing: We love well when others are flourishing because of the way we love them.
- Appropriate: Love has boundaries and limits; it “fits” the relationships we have with others and results in righteous and fitting action towards them.
- Unconditional: Christ loved us to his death because that is his character. This assurance and confidence of being loved by Him no matter what frees us to love others as he loves us.
- A choice: contrary to the current idea of “falling in love” love is a choice based on a willful decision.
Prayer of Response:
“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush” (Philippians 1:9-10, MSG).
—Submitted by Gudrun Reeves
Gudrun lives in the French Alpes near Grenoble and works at the Christian Retreat Center Champfleuri. The last few months might not have been so good for business, but perfect for practicing loving well.