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The Overcomer Magazine - November 2011 to February 2012
'United in Jesus . . . Through the Spirit'
Click on the titles of articles above for individual articles in this edition.
By Andrew Murray.
“A new command I give you”, Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you”. Love is the fulfilling of the law and is all-inclusive. It is to be the great evidence of the reality of the New Covenant, of the power of the new life revealed in Jesus Christ. It is to be the one convincing and indisputable token of discipleship, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples”, “May they also be in us so that the world may believe”, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”. To the believer seeking perfect fellowship with Christ, the keeping of this commandment is at once the blessed proof that he is abiding in Him, and the path to a fuller and more perfect union.
We know that God is love and that Christ came to reveal this, not as a doctrine but as a life. His life, in its wonderful self-abasement and self-sacrifice, was the embodiment of Divine love, showing forth to us, in such a way that we could understand, how God loves us. In His love to the unworthy and the ungrateful, in His humbling Himself to walk among us as a servant, in His giving Himself up to death, He simply lived and acted out the life of the Divine love which was in the heart of God. He lived and died to show us the love of the Father.
The Proof to Men
Just as Christ was to demonstrate God’s love, so believers are to show the world the love of Christ. They are to prove that Christ loves the world with a love that is not of the earth. They, by living and by loving just as He did, are to be perpetual witnesses to the love that gave itself to die. He loved so that even the Jews cried out at Bethany, “See how He loved”. Christians are to live so that others are compelled to say, ‘See how these Christians love one another’. In their daily relationships with each other Christians are made a spectacle to God, to angels and to the world, and in the Christ-likeness of their love to each other are to prove what Spirit they are of. Amid all diversity of character, of creed, of language or of station, they are to prove that love has made them members of one body and of each other, and has taught them each to forget and sacrifice self for the sake of others. Their life of love is the chief evidence of Christianity, the proof to the world that God sent Christ and that He has shed abroad in them the same love with which He loved. This is the mightiest and most convincing proof.
This love of Christ’s disciples for each other occupies a central position between their love for God and for all. Of their love for God, whom they cannot see, it is the test, but in the fellowship of God’s children, love to God is really called into being and shows itself in deeds that the Father accepts as done to Himself. So it is proved to be true. Love to fellow believers is the flower and fruit of the root, unseen in the heart of love for God, and this fruit becomes the seed of love to all. Fellowship with each other is the school in which believers are trained and strengthened to love their fellow-men, who are yet out of Christ, not simply with the liking that rests on points of agreement but with the holy love that takes hold of the unworthiest and bears with the most disagreeable, for Jesus’ sake. It is love to each other as disciples that is ever put in the foreground as the link between love to God and to all in general.
The Law of Conduct
In Christ’s relationship with His disciples we find the basis of our behaviour. As we study His forgiveness and forbearance towards His friends, with the seven times seven as its only measure, as we look at His unwearied patience and His infinite humility, as we see the meekness and lowliness with which He seeks to win for Himself a place as their servant, wholly devoted to their interests, we can accept with gladness His command, “You should do as I have done for you” (John 13 v15). Following His example, we live not for ourselves but for each other. The law of kindness is on our tongue, for love has vowed that never shall one unkind word cross our lips. We should refuse not only to speak but to hear and think evil of fellow-Christians. Our own good name we may leave to the Father, our brother’s good name our Father has entrusted to us. In gentleness and loving-kindness, in courtesy and generosity, in self-sacrifice and in its life of blessing and of beauty, the Divine love, which has been shed abroad in the believer’s heart, shines out as it shone in the life of Jesus.
What do you say of this glorious calling to love like Christ? Does your heart bound at the thought of the unspeakable privilege of showing forth the likeness of the Eternal Love? Or are you ready to sigh at the thought of the inaccessible height of perfection to which you are called? Do not sigh at this highest token of the Father’s love, that He has called us to be like Jesus in our love, just as He was like the Father in His love. Understand that He who gave the command in such close connection with His teaching about the Vine and abiding in Him, gives us the assurance that we have only to abide in Him to be able to love like Him. Accept the command as a new motive to a fuller abiding in Christ. Regard the abiding in Him more as an abiding in His love, rooted and grounded daily in a love that passes understanding. With Christ abiding in us, the Holy Spirit sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts and we love fellow Christians, the most trying and unlovable, with a love that is not our own but is the love of Christ in us. So the command to love is changed from a burden to a joy if we but keep it linked, as Jesus linked it, to the command about His love to us, “Remain in my love; love one another as I have loved you”.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you”. This is some of the “much fruit” that Jesus has promised we shall bear and with which we can prove to others that the land of promise is indeed a good land. Let us try in all simplicity and honesty to go out to translate the language of high faith and heavenly enthusiasm into the plain prose of daily conduct so that all can understand it. Let our temper be under the rule of the love of Jesus, He can not only curb it, He can make us gentle and patient. Let the vow that no unkind word of others shall ever be heard from our lips be laid trustingly at His feet. Let the gentleness that refuses to take offence, that is always ready to excuse, to think and hope the best, mark our relationship with all. Let the love that seeks nothing for itself but is ever ready to wash others’ feet, or even to give its life for them, be our aim as we abide in Jesus. Let our life be one of self-sacrifice, always seeking the welfare of others and finding our highest joy in blessing others. Let us, in studying the Divine art of doing good, yield ourselves as obedient learners to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By His grace the most commonplace life can be transfigured with the brightness of a heavenly beauty, as the infinite love of the Divine nature shines out through our frail humanity. We are called to love as Jesus loves, as God loves.
Loving with Jesus’ love will urge us to accept with fresh faith the blessed injunctions, “Remain in me and I in you”, “Remain in my love”.
From: ‘Abide in Christ’.
THE EDITOR’S LETTER.
My dear friends,
The year is drawing to its close and we can either look at it as a year older or a year nearer the Lord’s return - what an awesome day that will be, but a day we should keep in mind and look forward to in joyful anticipation.
May the Lord keep and bless you and may He draw us ever closer to Himself.
Yours in His precious Name.