“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)
Thinking about loving like Jesus is a little bit like wanting to take a train to the moon – It ain’t happenin’! At least not yet. One day, when we get to heaven, the Bible says we’ll see as we’ve been seen, and I don’t believe it’s a stretch to believe we’ll be able to love as we’ve been loved.
In the meantime, do we just discount efforts to love like Jesus because it’s humanly impossible? The reality is that even being a child of God is humanly impossible, but by God’s grace He allows us that wonderful privilege. How does He do that? By His Spirit living within us. That’s the same way He enables us to love like Jesus here on earth. So, what might that look like?
Susanna Wesley is known as the “Mother of Methodism” because she was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, but “Mother” Wesley gave birth to 19 children. Someone once asked her: “Of all your children, which one do you love the most?” She thought for a moment then responded: “I suppose the one who needs me most.”
Jesus loves us as if we were His only child. What can we learn from that? Loving like Jesus means we love:
- WITH INTENTIONALITY – So often when I’m with someone my mind wanders but loving with intentionality means to focus on that person as if they were the only other person on earth, because in that moment they are.
- WITH FOCUSED ATTENTION – When you think about Jesus’ interaction with people in the Bible He listened carefully and responded in ways that were specific to that person. Think of the woman at the well or blind Bartimaeus or Nicodemus or the woman caught in “the very act of adultery” or – and the list goes on and on. With the Spirit’s help we can learn to be more attentive to those we’re seeking to love like Jesus loved. I’ve often asked the Lord to love my precious wife through me as though she were His wife. You’ll have to ask her how that’s working out 😊.
- WITH GENEROSITY – Jesus’ love always allowed people to leave His presence with more than when they came to Him. Think of the Disciples. Think of the ones He healed. Think even of the children whom He hugged and jostled their hair with His hand. May we contribute to the lives of those with whom we have contact in such a way they feel enriched when they leave us.
- WITH KINDNESS – In Matthew 15 there is a story about a Gentile (non-Jewish) woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon. She came to Jesus seeking His help, but the disciples asked Jesus to send her away because of her persistent begging. Jesus spoke to her in a way that, at first, seemed to be condescending and unkind. But in my mind’s eye, His smile and countenance conveyed to her His love and acceptance, so much so the Bible says “she came and worshipped Him, pleading…” Her daughter was healed, and she left Jesus, I’m convinced, never to be the same again. May the people with whom we have contact, especially in our families, leave our presence knowing they are accepted and cherished.
- SACRIFICIALLY – Jesus’ love cost Him His life. Love that costs us nothing is of little or no value. Our time is the most precious commodity we can give. We can earn more money, but when we give of our time it’s gone, never to be regained. My prayer is that the persons in whom I/we invest my/our time will sense how much we value them and what a blessing it is to have them in our life.
May God’s love flow in and through us in such powerful ways that the lives of the people whom we love will be forever blessed, strengthened, and motivated to know and love Jesus with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength to His honor and eternal fame.
Blessings, Ed 😊