“ If we have got the true love of God shed abroad in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do.” – Dwight L. Moody
Love is a universal concept with no singular or simple definition. It is word bandied about when it is difficult to truly grasp its meaning. There are no lack of experts and no lack of expert’s interpretations of love. Go to the library and there are almost limitless choices of books on love.
Jesus emphatically proclaimed love as the most important command to obey. “Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31)
Jesus calls Christians to love one another. Half of Jesus’ summary of the law was to love your neighbor as yourself. While we accept that statement as truth, it is not an easy thing to do. Loving your neighbor as yourself regardless if they have wronged you, no matter how unpopular they are, or the fact that very thing they do or say is annoying. It is difficult to do. It is hard because sin complicates things. Our sinful nature makes us unloving and our neighbors seem unlovely. Sin makes me unloving and unlovely and other’s sin makes them unloving and unlovely.
It becomes easier if we first remember who we are. If you are a follower of Christ, then you have the ability to tap into the ultimate power source. God empowers us to love not from our own resources, but with love from above. Walking by the Spirit is the way to love and serve one another. Then remember who they are: yes they can be difficult. But when we look closer we find they are very much like us: people who need the love, grace, and the mercy of the risen savior. Jesus came to save them just as He came to save us. When you look at them that way, it is easier to love the unlovely.
Finally, what is the gospel telling us to do? 1 John 4:19 sums it up: “We love each other because he loved us first.” That is it. The gospel of love bids Christians to love. Remember that this is so much more than liking them. Loving gets to the core of the person. The gospel bids us to love because we have been loved. The gospel does not make it easy to love others, but it makes it possible.
- How do we go about remembering who we are, who they are and what the gospel is telling us to do?