“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The command from Jesus couldn’t be clearer. We understand, but it comes up regularly in our men’s groups as we seek ways to be better. So, how do we do this?
A good place to start is with our friends. There is tendency is to think negatively about those around us, including friends. It is an example of the difficulty in building and growing relationships. We need a different approach, and it is found in God’s Word. The countless times I looked at Philippians 1:3 and verses following, the message never soaked in. In this excerpt from The Wiersbe Study Bible, Dr. Wiersbe shares how Paul found joy in the people:
Throughout the course of a typical day the names and faces of hundreds of people may cross our minds. How often do those thoughts provoke thanksgiving? Paul developed a habit of thankful recollection (1:3). Instead of remembering with disappointment, judgement, or bitterness, he remembered with thanksgiving. He was grateful to God for the people the Lord had brought into his life. His simple practice would transform the way we think about people.
Paul found joy in his memories of the friends at Philippi and his growing love for them. He also found joy in remembering them before the throne of grace in prayer. The high priest in the Old Testament wore a special garment, the ephod, over his heart. Perhaps the deepest Christian fellowship and joy we can experience in this life is at the throne of grace, praying with and for one another.
Paul’s sincere love for his friends was something that could not be disguised or hidden. He was suffering on their behalf. His bonds were proof of his love. When we permit God to perform His “good work” in us, then we grow in our love for one another.
Take a look