Devotional: ‘Don’t Just Pretend to Love Others. Really Love Them!’

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The Philippians were some of Paul’s dearest friends. Time and time again they had cared for Paul and his needs. The most recent demonstration of their love came through a special care packaged carried to Paul by a Philippian Christian named Epaphroditus.

Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you

Exactly what those things were we do not know; yet they were a great blessing to Paul and no doubt met many of his daily needs.

The Philippian Christians were not the only ones to demonstrate Christlike love. Consider Paul’s comments about the churches of Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record , yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Paul says that the Macedonians’ caring was evidence that God’s grace was being poured out upon them.  So great was this grace that it caused them to go above and beyond what might be expected. They themselves were in need. Paul described their situation as ‘deep poverty.’ Yet, the grace of God was so great in them that it caused them to share liberally.

Every Christian should be willing to share with his fellow Christians who are in need. Regarding this matter the apostle Paul wrote – 1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him… 

A part of our giving to the church is caring for saints who are in need. But in addition to this, the Bible teaches us that God has equipped some saints with special spiritual gifts that enables them to care.

Romans 12:7 If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching.  8 If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. NLT

Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Those words should cause each of us to stop and think.

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