HOW TO LOVE
In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action.
I believe one of the most essential parts of the Christian life that could have the most impact on our life as followers of Christ Jesus is learning what it means to LOVE others. If we were to be honest, this is a part of our Christian life that is the weakest, and the one we practice the least. The most challenging characteristic found in Romans 12 involves other people. I heard a pastor say one time that life would be a lot easier if it weren’t for difficult people. Everyone has trouble in relationships at times.
Listen to what Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” That gets my attention. That is the profile of a believer. Jesus says, “Hey guys, this is new stuff. Write this down because this didn’t come from the Old Testament. I want you to be marked as my followers by your love for one another. I want you to love others as I have loved you.” How does Jesus love us? A) Unconditionally – Jesus loves us unconditionally, so I am supposed to love others unconditionally. B) Sacrificially – Jesus has loved me, sacrificially. We could find some agreement that dying on a cross for my sin is sacrificial love. C) Extravagantly – Jesus loves me big. These are three characteristics involving Jesus’ love for me and you. This excites me.
There are a few truths that we find in verses 9 through 13 regarding the way we should love. We see in verse 10 that we are to love competitively. I have been competitive my whole life, almost to a fault. I am the dad that wouldn’t let my kid win at checkers when they were five years old (please don’t judge me). The one area that I am not competitive in is loving others. Can you imagine what this would look like? Families are fighting over who loves who more, fighting over who wants to bless who more. This is a strong characteristic that I am missing. Verse 10 tells us to love honestly. This word means I am taking off the mask. I am going to be vulnerable and be all-in in this area of love. Verse 12-13 tells us to love compassionately. That means when life gets hard, and it will, I will be patient with people. You never know what that guy who is rude at the office is going through. Be patient. There is a saying that we use at our house called “EGR.” Extra Grace Required. When someone is not acting nice, show them grace, love them anyway. Love is a choice, not a feeling.
Would you find someone in your circle today that may be struggling and LOVE them anyway. My prayer today is. Would the real you show up to meet real needs, for the right reasons, the right way. Today…. Love Hard.