“One Another” Body Life
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV)
Loving one another involves accepting, instructing, serving, bearing with, submitting to, and encouraging each other.
Love is the key to good relationships in the family of God … but how do we get there? God gives us the answer in Paul’s letter to Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, (NLT)
Look closely at this verse. Where does love come from?
Paul told the Corinthians what Christ’s love looks like when we are controlled by the Holy Spirit: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Which aspect of love described in this passage is already a part of your life?
As you look at these verses, which characteristic of love are you lacking?
The Corinthian Church in the New Testament was full of “baby” Christians. They had accepted Christ’s love for them, but they treated one another selfishly, which resulted in quarreling and jealousy (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-4). They needed to learn how to love “one another.”
“One another” is mentioned more than thirty times in the Bible! God intends that we love each other, and the many facets of love are expressed in these “one another” commands. Loving “one another’ involves several key actions: devotion, accepting, instructing, serving, bearing with, submitting to, and encouraging. When we are able to do these things, then we truly will be able to show the world that as Christians we love one another. This love is not an emotional here today gone tomorrow kind of love. It is a tough, strong, knowledgeable, and lasting commitment kind of love.
Devoted to One Another
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:10 (NIV)When we are devoted, we are loyal, faithful, and dedicated. As God’s family we show concern
for one another and are loyal to each other. Because we arethe family of God we need to love
each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
What kinds of actions do you think show that you are “devoted” to others?
Accept one Another
“Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7 ( NIV)
Romans 14:13 says, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (NIV)To accept one another is to receive each other willingly or to give admittance to or approval
of someone. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made for each one of us, we need to accept one
another as the unique individuals that God has created.
What reasons do you have for not accepting others?
Instruct One Another
Romans 15:14 says, “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”
Oh, how we don’t like to have someone telling us what to do! Instruction implies teaching and learning … and having someone tells us what to do!
How are you at taking instruction? Are you gracious when you give it?
Why is this mandate to “instruct one another” difficult within the body of Christ?
How can you cultivate an open heart to the instruction from others?
Serve One Another
Galatians 5:13 says, “Serve one another humbly in love.” (NIV) As a member of God’s family, with all its rights and privileges, every Christian is to be a servant to all the other members of the family. The needs of all those in the family are then met! Proud people use others; humble people are able to serve others.
Is there a way you can serve someone this week?
What happens to you when you serve someone?
Bearing with One Another
Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV)What does it mean to “bear with each other”? If we look at this same phrase in a couple of different Bible translations, we’ll get a very clear answer!
The NLT says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults” and the CEV puts it this way,
“Put up with each other.”
“To bear” means to patiently endure the idiosyncrasies and weaknesses of others! It means we have a forgiving spirit. Patience and a forgiving spirit are nearly synonymous concepts. These are not automatic; they involve a deliberate act of the will. When you are impatient, angry, and unforgiving, you are choosing to be that way! It is only through the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power that we are able to bear with each other!
What are some of the quirks and habits of others that irritate you?
What are some of your idiosyncrasies that clearly test the patience of others?
What one thing can you do today to take a step toward doing a better job of bearing with others?
Submit to One Another
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)Submission is a very important yet often ignored Biblical teaching. The Bible is very clear
that all Christians are to submit to one other. All Christians are to submit to their leaders,
and servants are to submit to masters. Children are to submit to parents, and Christians
are to submit to government and authority, and husbands and wives are to submit to each other.
This is amazing because in the world there is no such thing as mutual submission! It is uniquely Christian. Christ brought a whole new approach to functional relationships between people. Submission has to do with servanthood, humility, respect, reverence, honor, and willingness to be teachable. All of this is rooted in our individual submission and obedience to Christ.
In what ways are you learning to submit to God?
Who are you currently submitting to?
What about this concept of submission is difficult for you?
What is keeping you from obeying God in this area?
Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (NIV) One of the ways we can encourage one another is by sharing scripture. We can also find many ways to build each other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (NLT)
Who in your life needs to be encouraged?
How can you encourage that person?
What can you do to make encouragement more of an everyday action in your life?
It is only by the Holy Spirit’s power that you will be able to take on all of these “one another” admonitions! You can’t generate this kind of behavior on your own. God’s love and the actions that come out of it are only the result of the Holy Spirit working in and through you.
Which one of the “one another” directives is easiest for you?
Which one of the directives is most difficult?
Ask God to show you how you can be a more Spirit-filled member of His family.