A Closer Look at Love

“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22: 37-40 NLT)

Is it safe to say that our understanding and concept of love is far different than God’s? How can we even begin to understand a love that offers His only Son to bridge the gap between sinful human beings and Himself? How can we possibly conceive of a love that not only doesn’t demand His own way, but ignores His own way in favor of the way of His Father?

We whine about someone parking in “our” parking spot or sitting in “our” seat at church or feel obligated to contact the church office because someone wasn’t dressed very nicely, and they smelled. We love the stories the missionaries tell of the impoverished people whose lives were positively impacted by our churches giving, but we’re often too busy to volunteer to serve the impoverished in our own city.

Sometimes I literally cry because of the hardness of my heart in comparison to the picture of Jesus’ life painted for us in Scripture. His love knew no bounds. When someone needed Him, He responded.

Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels.com

Have you ever wondered why so few miracles occur today in America compared to all the miracles that were done in the New Testament, not only by Jesus, but by His followers? Even in other parts of the world today, it’s much more common to see and hear of God’s power being manifested in miraculous ways.

God’s love hasn’t changed. His healing virtue is just as real today as it’s ever been. His availability to touch and change lives hasn’t been altered. So, what’s changed? And I’m not referring to our dark, lost world, I’m talking about me! A professing believer who too often loves myself more than I love God or others. I attend and give and serve and worship and cry and pray – but my love too often is an inch deep and a mile wide.

There’s a man in my Men’s Group who volunteers in the church office every week. He inputs information for the many new people the Lord is sending us and makes calls to follow up with them. He volunteers on Sunday to serve and is often involved in other ways throughout the week. He’s a busy man. Yet, he takes his valuable time each day to put these blog articles on his Facebook page, to give them more exposure. I didn’t ask him to do that. He does it because he loves Jesus and me.

He’s an exception, but what if he wasn’t? What can we learn from someone who puts Jesus and others ahead of himself? What if we started with sacrificing one hour a week to “fast” from catering to our every need? What might it look like if, for no other reason than love for Jesus and others, we sought to serve the needs of someone else?

There’s a young man I met through our church who has since moved out of state, but he texts me every morning to remind me that he’s praying for me and my family. Why would he do that? Because he loves Jesus and others more than he loves himself.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but what if we purposed in our heart to put Jesus and others ahead of ourselves in some practical way for the express reason of honoring Jesus and denying ourselves? Let it begin with prayer, then allow the Lord to give you ideas that can work for you.

Each of us, regardless of who we are, can do something. Lift someone to God in prayer; send a text, email, or make a call; take someone to breakfast or invite them over to your house; let someone know you’re praying for them and ask if they have any specific requests; pay a teen’s way to a youth camp; whatever it is, let it be a sacrifice. Let God’s love lead the way. He will be honored, and you will be blessed.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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