Devotions

A Love Beyond Comparison

March 4, 2020
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” 1 John 5:2-4 (ESV)
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A few years ago, I visited a friend's house for the first time. From the moment I entered, I was bombarded with exquisite beauty. Everywhere I looked, I saw things I longed to have. My eyes moved from the flooring she had chosen to the art on the walls to the lights hanging from the ceiling and finally to God, who had decided to allow me to walk naively into this den of jealous temptation.

Despite being caught in this death-trap of comparison, when she offered me some tea and pulled out the chips and salsa, I was all like, “I’m-fine-no-big-deal-what’s-up-with-you?

Then I excused myself to the most perfect powder room ever so I could scrape myself off the immaculate parquet floors and ask Jesus to help me survive the rest of the visit.

On my way to the bathroom, I texted my husband and told him I might not make it out of this perfect house alive. My jealousy could cause my heart to explode at some point during this visit, so I asked him to please take care of the children and our IKEA furniture sitting on our 1990s cream tile floors.

He texted back: “So sorry. Must be hard.”

I pretended to believe he meant that in a supportive way.

The Holy Spirit met me there in my dream bathroom. He offered me a new version of the 10th commandment:

Let her have her things.”

The words stopped me dead in my tracks. Obeying this command suddenly seemed so simple and liberating. Let her have her things. There was really no reason not to. I knew she had a stack of troubles as high as anyone else’s. I cognitively recognized her life was far from perfect. And for goodness’ sake, this was a person I loved — like, really and truly loved — and yet I’d forgotten that when I was blinded by her material blessings.

I needed the love of God to overcome my jealousy. I wasn’t left out or forgotten by God just because her vintage chandelier made mine look more shabby than chic. In fact, the more I obediently let her have her things, the deeper my awareness grew of God’s love for both of us.

John confirmed this connection between obedience and love when he wrote, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:2-4).

We glimpse God’s heart in the original commandments He gave Moses in Exodus. God knew if His people could honor the Sabbath, worship only Him, and live lives that showed love and respect for others, then they would avoid many painful consequences. The commandments are God’s way of saying, “I love you.

Obeying God’s commandments is our “I love you” back to God. Loving one another with generous hearts proves we understand that Jesus obediently sacrificed Himself so He could look at God and say, “Let them have my things.”

And Jesus’ things, such as His righteousness, holiness and victory over death, are far greater gifts than any pretty thing on earth. His love is leading us all home to God, where we will enter God’s joy forever on floors that are a smidge nicer than any we’ve seen in this life.

What can compare with that?

Lord, thank You for all the ways You provide all I need. Remind me of Your love for me. Set my heart free from comparison. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

1 John 4:16, 19, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. … We love because he first loved us.” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES

To read more about how the unchanging truths of God’s Word can empower you to live a life full of His love, grab a copy of Carrie Stephens’ book, Holy Guacamole: A Glorious Discovery of Your Undeniable Worth.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Holy Guacamole by Carrie Stephens. To celebrate this book, Carrie’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, March 9, 2020.}

CONNECT

Visit Carrie’s website to read her blog, subscribe to her newsletter or to find out about her next event near you. She’s also on Instagram and Facebook.

REFLECT AND RESPOND

Make a list of your friends and family, and write three things you admire about each of them. Pray a blessing over them, thanking God for the blessings He has already given them. Text or call them to say how much you admire and love them and that you are praying for them.

© 2020 by Carrie Stephens. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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