Strengthening our spiritual core is not just for our benefit—it’s also for the benefit of others. Remember, God has called us to love Him and to love others.

Read: John 13:34-35

Ask Yourself & Journal:

•  According to Jesus, by what will people be known as His disciples?

By our love for each other.  The distinction here is not by “my” love, but the way I love those around me.  I can think I’m a loving individual, but that love can only be measured by how I love others.  Love is not about me feeling warm and fuzzy inside, but being generous and compassionate with my life to those around me.

•  What are some things that hinder you from being “others” focused?

The thing that’s hinders me the most from being “other’s focused is my time management.  I know a lot of other people would be able to identify with this.  The thing is, if I’m really honest with myself, saying “I don’t have enough time,” is my fault and not time’s.  How ludicrious for me to think that my 24 hour day is at fault.  By blaming time I’m blaming an amoral, inanimate concept.  I’m the one responsible for what I say Yes and No to, what responsibilities I take on, what I spend my time doing, etc.  Not being responsible with my time boils down to selfishness.  I’m not willing to give up “my” time.  I should re-define it as time for “God and others.”

•  Is there someone in your life who needs to be loved by you and yet you have avoided him or her? What can you do to reach out to this person?

My answer to this is pretty much the same answer to the previous question.  There are people in my life that I know I should be making conscience efforts to spend more time with, but my poor time management has made that difficult.  The things I can do to reach out to these people, ’cause it’s more than one, it to sit down and look at my schedule week to week and purposely fill some of that week with getting together more often with friends that need Christian fellowship.

•  Are you gracious and welcoming to new people you meet, or would someone be hesitant to approach you?

I’ve gotten better in this area, but I know I can be a difficult person to approach.  Maybe I’m just a scary looking Mexican (http://twitpic.com/4yyk8c), but I attribute this to hidden sin in my life.  I believe people could sense that deep down I wasn’t a happy person, and who would be attracted to that?  Nobody.  Often, people use to ask family & friends if I was OK or if I was upset.  I know the Lord’s transformed me in this area because people have told me they have seen a change in my life.  If you’ve recently met me, you’ve met a different Al than over a year ago.  Once I even had someone say they could see happiness in my eyes.  I just pray that light will shine brighter and brighter.  I want others to be drawn to Christ in me.

Listen & Pray:  JESUS, I love you because you first loved me. In the same way you love me, teach me to love my neighbor as I’m loved by you. It’s not about me. It’s about you.

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