The Discipline of the Spirit

JOHN 13:31–35

The verses in today’s quiet time produce all kinds of emotions. On the one hand I am inspired and challenged. However, sometimes as I read them my stomach twists. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I just feel bad. Sometimes I feel frustrated to the point of despair.

The cause of the inspiration and frustration is Jesus’ command to love one another. It’s a wonderful command. But we Christians haven’t done too well in obeying it. When I look at the history of the church, it seems like all we have done is fought and divided. There are literally thousands of denominations. My own denomination has had two major breakaway groups in the past twenty years. If our current controversy continues, we might split completely in two.

I can’t point my finger at others in condemnation. I also have my own history of conflict with fellow believers. I know there are people who have chosen to worship at other places because of me. I have been on ministry teams that sighed with relief when my ministry term was over. Even friends have come to the point of stepping back because they have had more of me than they could take.

Lest I paint too dark a picture of myself, I hasten to add that I also have a number of good friends with whom I share affection and spiritual intimacy. There have even been several people who have been attracted to our church by means of the Lord’s ministry of love through me.

Pause for a moment’s reflection, and you too will find a mixed history of loving relationships in your own experience. How then do we square Jesus’ words with reality? That’s what today’s quiet time is all about.

Approach

Picture yourself sitting in your room with God. He is there because he loves you. Write down words that come to mind that describe your experience of his loving presence with you.

written by Stephen D. Eyre and Jacalyn Eyre

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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