Last night marked a year.
For one year now, 5 little girls have gathered in my dining room twice a month to sip lemonade from tea cups, eat mini pizzas and treats, and talk about what it really means to be one of God's Girls!
They are precious.
I want my girls to know from a young age that true friends are ones who come around you to listen to you and pray for you. True friends spur you on towards LOVE and good deeds, they don't walk down the path of gossip with you and point you to the world.
True friends look differently, go to different schools, wear different clothes than you,
but their hearts look much the same.
We've been working through the Fruit of the Spirit, taking our time to talk about each aspect of the Holy Spirit Fruit that shows in our lives as we allow Him to dwell in us.
Of course I saved LOVE for our February gathering!
Last year we talked about God's great love for us, that we are His Masterpieces!
But the love we talked about last night was different.
Last night we talked about our responsibility to love others.
“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.”
3 big parts in these verses.
First the "what"
LOVE one another
Second the "how"
As I have loved you.
Lastly, the "why"
So that by your love everyone will know that you are my disciples.
We sipped cherry milkshakes (departing from our traditional lemonade because pink milkshakes with heart straws looked just too cute!) and ate mini pizzas while we discussed this verse at great length.
We are commanded to love.
Have you ever thought of that?
It's a command without option. Without caveat. Without exception. Without excuse.
LOVE one another. Period.
We are commanded to love in the way God loves us.
Around the table we shared how God loves
"He cares for us."
"He puts our best first."
"He gave us Jesus to die for us."
"God loves everyone, even those that hate Him."
When we love in this way, the same way that God loves us and in the way Jesus exemplified in his earthly life, people stop and take notice. This kind of love is radically different than the love the world shows.
It seems that our world is lost in the love of self. That kind of love only points inward.
It's a dead end.
But the unconditional, selfless love of God points out.
It points up.
Milkshakes and pizzas gave way to decorating heart sugar cookies as we talked some more.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
How can we encourage each other to love?
One girl shared about a mean girl at school. Another girl nodded, "yea, she's really mean."
"It would be easy for the two of you to walk away from her and talk about how mean she is. You could gossip about her and turn others away from her," I started.
"But what if together you pray for her?"
We are commanded to LOVE, and we are asked to consider how we can encourage each other to keep this very difficult command.
We concluded our time praying for one another, and praying for the mean girl.