Recently the topic of love has been on my heart. Not the mushy, Nicholas Sparks kind of romantic, infatuated love (although I’m always down for a good chick-flick). The type of love that I’m thinking of is the ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ kind, the selfless kind of love that puts other’s needs above your own.
Lets start out with a simple question: What do you love?
Your favorite spot on the sofa to grab a bowl of ice cream, curl up, and watch your favorite show on Netflix (yea, I definitely have one of those)?
Those are all good things, don’t get me wrong. But where does God fall on that list? If we’re being completely honest with ourselves, if I’m being completely honest, God hasn’t always ranked the highest.
You might be saying, “What’s the problem with that? As long as I love God enough, I’m all set!”
God doesn’t want to just be another item on the list of ‘loves and likes.’ God wants to BE the list. When we love God above everything else, above success in our jobs or the perfect body or even above those who matter most to us, our lives and our desires will change.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39
Pay attention to the order in which God commands us. He first calls us to love Him and then to love others. We can’t wholly love other people the way God has called us to if we don’t first love Him. Understanding and truly knowing Christ’s unfailing, unrelenting love should move our hearts to love others like Christ has loved us. First John 4:20 says that our love for God is shown through our love for those around us.
In our day and age, we fail to understand is that love isn’t just a feeling. It’s a choice. Hate to break it to you, but people aren’t always going to be nice and easy to love. Because of our sin nature, we, as human beings, are always going to fall short of other’s hopes and expectations. The extent to which someone failed your expectations doesn’t matter, but the way in which you responded to them does (**cue the shameless plug to check out my last post about handling offense**).
“Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 14:34-35
Christ has called us to love others. Period. As Christians, the best way in which we can be a witness is to love. There is no one on this planet that Jesus didn’t come to save or who He doesn’t love. Therefore there is no one on this planet who we shouldn’t be willing love.
Is loving someone who has hurt you easy? No. But Christ called us to.
Is loving someone who talked badly about you easy? No. But Christ called us to.
Is loving someone who tried to talk to you before your morning cup of coffee easy? No. But Christ called us to.
Christ didn’t call us to an easy life. Christ called us to bring glory and honor to Him in ALL things…not just when it’s easy or convenient for us.
What if we chose to love others the way that Christ loves us? What if we pushed our own needs aside to show someone love today? What if we stepped out of our comfort zone to be the hands and feet of Christ?
People might say we’re crazy…but then again, people said that Jesus was crazy when He loved the poor and the needy.
So how do we apply this? Lets make Christ the top of our list of things we love. Then, lets work on showing others that same love.
Jon Bloom wrote, “The most loving thing we can do for others is love God more than we love them. For if we love God most, we will love others best.”