DAY ONE: Abiding in Christ
Decades ago, I was lying in bed crying because I couldn't conjure love for other people. It wasn’t in me.
Yet my wife, Teresa, said, “You will become known as a man of such incredible love that it will become a hallmark of your life.”
I now believe that it was God who put those words in Teresa’s mouth, and I believe that God has me well on my way to becoming known as a man of compassion and love. It is happening because I made the choice to pray and believe that what seemed impossible to me was not impossible for God. I believe that if I ask according to His will, I will receive. And I believe that it is God’s will that His love for people be made manifest in my life.
It’s hopeless to love others with a sacrificial love if we are not abiding in Christ. Our fleshly nature is not others-centered. To love other people the way that the Lord commands us to do requires another nature apart from our flesh—it requires the Lord’s nature living in and through us. Simply put, we need to open our hearts and say, “Lord, You need to do through me what I cannot do on my own—help me to love others the way You love me.”
God loved us when we were yet separated from Him. He loved us even when we were rebelling against Him. He loved us and showed mercy when we sinned.
In the same way, we are to love others—to extend grace and mercy—even when they are our enemies. It’s a command of God and something that God will enable us to do if we open our hearts to Him and abide in Him.