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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him. This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands.”—1 John 5:1–2 (HCSB)
It’s easy to call yourself a Christian. Don’t get me wrong . . . Jesus made it simple for our sins to be erased. But, when we call ourselves Christians, we’re representing so much more than that.
We might think that loving God is easier than obeying Him. We might disconnect love from actions because we’ve been taught that love is a feeling. And to a certain extent, it is. But it’s also a decision. When we were first saved, God may have commanded us to give up specific sins or habits, and we had to decide whether or not to obey. But, now, He commands us to love others (John 13:34).
If you wonder how much of our lives need to be crucified on a daily basis, Galatians 2:20 and Luke 9:23 are pretty good verses to reference. Put simply, if you really truly love God, then you will really, truly love others. It’s just as simple as that.
Since humans are pretty crummy at love, the perfect person to mirror is Jesus Himself.
Our love for others should cost us something.
If we are loving someone well, then we’re sacrificing something for them. Jesus sacrificed everything to bring us closer to Him. Sacrifice looks different for every person, whether it be time, money, conversation, effort, etc. But something’s gotta give in order to love.
Our love for others should come with extreme care.
John 13:33 says that Jesus referred to His disciples as “little children,” which speaks of his tender feelings toward them. Even His demeanor toward strangers was gentle!
Paul was a great example of gentle love (1 Thessalonians 2:7–8). This is a good Scripture to dig into if you find difficulty in displaying tender love.
Our love for others should be obvious.
When was the last time your love for someone stood out? Jesus makes it pretty clear that if our love isn’t obvious for others, people won’t know we are Christians (John 13:35). So, do something crazy for someone. Make a scene. Glorify God with radical love.
Our love should be committed.
Jesus loved His disciples to the very end. While Peter and His other 10 disciples consistently failed Him, He was committed to them, never casting them away. Instead, He restored them and used them after His resurrection. Our love should look the same.
In closing, calling yourself a Christian is one thing. But representing the love of God effectively, honorably, and in a way that glorifies Him is something else entirely, and it’s a command that helps shape the world.
“Love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment which, in obedience to Jesus, shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved.”—Steven J. Cole
DIG: Read and study the Scriptures listed above. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to interpret His Word in the way He intended.
DISCOVER: What ways do you fall short when loving others? How can you make a change today?
DO: Do something out of the ordinary for those you love. Choose one of the themes above to dedicate yourself to when loving others.