“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
If believers fulfill their constant debt of love, they will have a continual attitude of sacrificial humility.
Origen, the early church father, wisely said, “The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. This is a debt which we pay every day and forever owe.” The primary reason you and I can pay that debt is that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). God’s own love to us and every other believer is the bottomless well from which we can draw and then share with others.
If we have this wonderful, supernatural resource of love through the Holy Spirit, it only follows that we must submit to the Spirit. When we do so, all the enemies and impediments to humility—pride, unjustified power-grabbing, selfish ambition, partisanship, hatred—will melt away. What an overwhelming thought to consider that such humility can be ours because God Himself, through His Spirit, is teaching us to love as we yield to Him (1 Thess. 4:9).
At every turn we see humility going hand in hand with godly love. Genuine love never turns its “freedom into an opportunity for the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). It will not do anything to cause another Christian to fall into sin or even be offended in his conscience (Rom. 14:21). Love that is from God will “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [us]” (Eph. 4:32).
The greatest test of love and humility is the willingness to sacrifice for the good of others. As we have already seen in our study of humility, Jesus was the ultimate example of this (Phil. 2:5-8). Our supreme demonstration of humility is when we imitate Him: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).
Suggestions for Prayer
• Pray for an occasion today to show some facet of biblical love to another person.
• If nothing develops today, keep praying that the Lord would make you alert for future opportunities.
For Further Study
• First John 4 is a wonderful chapter on God’s love and its meaning for believers. According to the apostle, how can we know truth from error?
• What benefits derive from God’s love?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.