Grow Deep - My Church Edition - Week 4

Week 4: February 10-16

My Church Edition – My Action

Memory Verse: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples: if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

I remember a Holy Week message from many years ago whose title was this question: “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” For me, the obvious answer to that question was (and still is) …EVERYTHING! When Jesus hung on the cross—body bloodied, pierced, bruised and battered—He gave His everything in an expression of love that is beyond human understanding. His was an intentional, sacrificial action that flowed from His profound, life-giving, unconditional love for us.

In Jesus, God has shown us what love is. Writing to the church in Corinth, St. Paul describes a love that is not based on a sentimental, romantic feeling but on hardcore, radical sacrifice instead (1 Corinthians 13). In His Gospel, John tells us that our loving actions toward one another are evidence that we are followers of Christ (13:35). He tells us that Jesus demonstrated His love by laying down His life for us and that we should do the same for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). John goes on to say that we should love in action and truth rather than in words and speech (verse 18).

Loving someone is easy when you are loved in return. But when your love is not returned, or worse yet, when you are mocked, hurt, treated badly or just ignored, love is not easy. It requires intentional action of mind, heart, body and soul. Hard? Yes, but that is the kind of love to which we, in the church, are called! In every exchange with His followers, Jesus loved with purpose and intentionality. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we already have access to all we need to love with purpose and intentionality. We have the love of Christ!

Taking Jesus to the Streets: Who in your family or circle of influence is hard to love? Consider why that relationship is difficult? Consider asking someone in your church or small group to pray with you aloud about ways to love that person as Jesus does.

Sunday, February 10

Read: 1 Corinthians 13
St. Paul describes the kind of love to which we should aspire as members of His Body. It is not focused on self but is a self-sacrificing love.
Reflect: What do you learn from vs. 4-8 about what it means to love? How can you identify with the kind of love described? How is the Holy Spirit encouraging you to grow?

Monday, February 11

Read: Acts 2:42-47
In these five verses, we get a clear picture of the attitudes and actions of a healthy church … a community that grows spiritually while serving one another.
Reflect: What stands out most for you in these verses? How do the actions described in these verses model the love of Christ? How have you been the recipient of the kind of love described? How have you extended the kind of love described?

Tuesday, February 12

Read: Ephesians 5:1-11
This is a call to action for believers, outlining how we should and should not act as imitators of Christ.
Reflect: What does it mean to you to “walk in the way of love?” Who is to be an example? How is His sacrifice like a fragrant offering?

Wednesday, February 13

Read: John 13:13-17
Jesus shows us by His own example how we should act toward one another. He humbled Himself to serve His disciples.
Reflect: What is Jesus trying to teach His followers that is bigger than washing feet? Is there anything that needs to change in your life so you can love others and serve them in the way that Jesus did?

Thursday, February 14

Read: Titus 3:1-8
We are called to devote ourselves to doing good in response to the goodness of Christ who saved us.
Reflect: How is Paul’s instruction in verse 1 a reminder to love with purpose and intentionality? Why are we called by God to live lives that brim over with loving acts for those in Body? What is different about loving others in the way Paul instructs and loving others based on our feelings?

Friday, February 15

Read: 1 John 3:16-18
Christ laid down His life for us; we are called to love our brothers and sisters and sacrifice, even our own lives, for them.
Reflect: Most of us are not called to die for another, so how do these verses speak to you about sacrificing your life for the sake of another? Think of someone in your life right now who needs your sacrificial loving action.

Saturday, February 16

Read: John 13:31-35
John describes a love that is not sweet and sentimental, but he describes love as an action. He describes a loving action that demonstrates Christ to the world.
Reflect: What command does Jesus give to His disciples? What should be the one character trait that most makes us recognizable as Christians? Why does Jesus place such importance on loving one another? What changes do you need to make in your life to share God’s love more fully?