Holidays and stress seem to go hand in hand in today's culture. How does the enemy use this stress to stop kingdom progress? He attempts to fill believers with anxiety and pressure so that there is no room for the Father's love to fill them up. And as a result, they are not able to release love to others. They are dry and need a fresh anointing of the Living Water so they can love others and build healthy relationships.
As believers, it is our choice to live by 1 John 4:18 (NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
So then how do we love our neighbors, friends and family and build healthy relationships during this season?
Jesus said, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31).
This seems like a straightforward command but holiday stress can interfere with hearing these guiding words from the Holy Spirit. We must be aware of the enemy's schemes and not fall into the stress trap the enemy sets during this season.
As you gather with friends, family and neighbors in the coming weeks, prayerfully consider the following three keys to loving others.
Three Keys to Loving Others:
1. Never let a situation mean more than your relationship with a person.
The flesh is at enmity with the Spirit of God. The enemy will play on our minds, wills and emotions and put us in situations with others that spark our flesh to act. When we aren't aware of warfare, we can easily place the importance of a situation above the relationship we have with a person.
Before you meet with others, pause and take a moment to ask the Lord to align your heart and mind with His.
2. Remember how you are loved.
First John 4:19 tells us that "we love because He first loved us." Let us remember when others showed us mercy, grace and love when we didn't deserve it. Let us remember that the only reason we can love is because the Lord loves us.
Before you meet with others, pause and take a moment to thank the Lord for the love He has shown you through others.
3. Have a kingdom perspective.
Let us have a kingdom perspective as we meet with others. Let's think about what we say and how we say it. The heart motive behind our words matters. For there to be unity and fellowship among the family of God, friends and neighbors, the words we speak will be seeds that sow a crop we will later reap.
Before you meet with others, pause and take a moment to ask the Lord to reveal your heart motive behind your words, asking Him to bridle your tongue.
Let us move into this season with hearts and mindsets on loving others and being thankful for having an inheritance that can never perish.
Curt Landry, founder of Curt Landry Ministries, and his wife, Christie, travel extensively, preaching and teaching about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Together, their passion is to empower families to live and leave kingdom legacies and understand their own personal heritage.
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