My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15


Jesus commanded us to love each other, but how can a person love another on demand? Isn’t love a feeling? And if you don’t have the feeling, how can you love?

The love Jesus calls us to have for others, is something you can develop deliberately, especially towards those in God’s family. It’s like the love that came about through the relationship Jesus has with the Father. That’s what made it possible for Jesus to love us.

Long ago, when I was a new Christian, just starting to appreciate God’s love, I prayed a prayer I’ll never forget. One evening, as I was in bed getting ready to sleep, I asked God to fill me with his love. And I asked him to help me share that love with others. When I did that, I felt a tangible warmth fill my heart. After that, I discovered that it was easy to show my love to others. It came naturally. I didn’t have to try. And each time I showed God’s love to others, I experienced his love flowing back to me.

Years later, at Living Room, I sometimes led the group in praying this prayer, telling them that this is one prayer that God would love to answer. We asked God to come into our heart and help us share his love with each other. I do believe that God’s love flowed more easily as members listened and responded to each other during sharing time.

The scripture above tells us that laying down our lives for our friends shows how sincere our love is. You might ask, does that mean dying for them like Jesus did? Not at all. We don’t have to go that far. Basically, it means to give of ourselves to others. Laying down our lives happens when we go out of our way to be there for someone. To spend time with them or help them—not necessarily because we’re especially drawn to them—but because we have a desire to give. Because they’re our brothers and sisters and we want to show them we care.

“I have called you friends,” said Jesus to the disciples, “for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Now, if you’ve been reading Jesus’ many teachings and stories, you too will have learned some of what Jesus taught the disciples. You might have chosen to follow Jesus. You too will know what it’s like to be his friend.