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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"—Galatians 5:14 (NLT)
People love simple. Complexity is out of style. People avoid complexity at all costs. Companies like Apple know this. Are their products the absolute best on the market? Maybe. It’s debatable. But they’re the most popular because of the sheer simplicity they offer their costumers. Google knows this. Their home page is so simple—only a few options and one big button right in the middle that makes it easily identifiable what you’re there to do.
Simplicity makes life . . . well . . . more simple. It removes clutter and complexity and frees us up to spend more time on what matters. In today’s verse, we see the apostle Paul—who was quoting Jesus—simplify the entire law into one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It all comes down to this. If you treat others with the same kind of devotion, attention, care, patience, and generosity that you treat yourself with, you’ll never mistreat anyone. If you love others the way you love yourself, you’ll love them well.
This is the fulfillment of generous relationships in a nutshell. It’s the ultimate demonstration of generous relationships. Paul is making it very simple for us. Similar to Luke 6:31 (ESV) which says, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” The word for wish here is theló, which means, “to desire (wish, will), wanting what is best (optimal) because someone is ready and willing to act.”
How often do you wish for what is best? How often do you demand that others treat you with respect? How often do you expect someone to be gracious, thoughtful, kind, considerate, and generous? If you’re being honest, you probably wish people would act this way toward you all the time. And why wouldn’t you? Why would you wish for people to be unfriendly? Why would you wish for someone not share with you or to be unforgiving and inconsiderate? You wouldn’t! No one in his or her right mind would.
Sadly, though, our wishes for the way people would treat us often look a lot more thoughtful, considerate, and generous than the way we treat others. Living a life of extravagant generosity, the kind of generosity that impacts others for the gospel, means embracing Galatians 5:14 in all our interactions. It means constantly remembering 1) how Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us, 2) how we love ourselves, and 3) how we want others to love us. So, how well are you loving others?
DIG: Read Galatians 5.
DISCOVER: Why do you think Paul tells us to love others like we love ourselves instead of how we love Jesus? What do you think this says about us and how we view ourselves?
DISPLAY: Love others well today. Imagine how you want someone to treat you as you enter into any interaction, and treat them that way!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.