Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

We have our reservations when it comes to loving everybody. Jesus once had a conversation about this very topic with a teacher of the law. Discussing the specifics of loving God and particularly our neighbors, a teacher of the law spoke up and asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus then told a story of an unnamed person who got mugged and left on the road to die. After a Priest and a Levite had passed by and conveniently ignored the victim, a despised Samaritan finally came to his rescue.

At the end of the story Jesus answered the law expert’s question with a question of His own (Luke 10:36-37):

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

According to Jesus’s story, a person who loves saves life. Love is the only answer to every problem on earth.

Love brings life. Families are physical reminders of that. God created us affectionate and capable of love, but He also knew we would make decisions that would hurt us and Him. He created us anyway. Apparently, the joy of our love outweighs the pain. We know from our own experience how love can hurt us – still, it’s all worth it according to our Creator.

So, we continue to love, even though it is difficult sometimes. Looking to Jesus, we learn from the best. His love honors and respects people regardless of status, gender and tribe. Jesus loves humans indiscriminately, always has, and always will; and His followers live by His example.

Ephesians 6:10-11: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Strange but true: Fearing God, we learn to abandon our fears. This may sound a bit crazy, but in all reality tables are turned when God begins to matter in our lives. As far as I am concerned, finding the Lord has totally changed my perspective. Demons shrink; self-erected walls break down; my world gets bigger and my fears smaller. An interesting revelation in the book of Proverbs tells us that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7):

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Back in Paradise, Adam and Eve were fascinated by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge is an attraction to the curious mind, and we all are born with an innate curiosity. However, if fearing the Lord is only the beginning of knowledge, then the source of all knowledge is in the Lord; hence the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has been a misleading source of information. That tree was a deception that threw mankind off pointing us in the wrong direction.

Knowing the Lord we know it all, the good, but also the bad and the ugly. The Lord is good, there is no shadow in Him, and He alone knows how to properly deal with darkness. His light dispels it. In this life we need to learn how to stay true to ourselves. We need to learn how to beat our demons. We have plenty of reasons to be discouraged and dragged down. The Lord teaches us to stand up and successfully fight these things.

There is a lot to be learned in battle, but our finest moments in life are the occasions when we respond to hate with love. This is how the Lord wages His battles. Love overrules all conflicts and is the solution to every problem. Again, we won’t know how to love if it wasn’t for the Lord. We go to the source to learn from Him. His love draws us to Him in the first place.

Without His love there would be nothing worth fighting for. We need to stay strong in trying times by seeking His presence daily. We need all the encouragement we can get.

“Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home”

Songwriters: Andrew Pearson / Greg Holden