“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
When I was younger and, on some levels even today, I’ve wondered how the biblical writers gained such tremendous insight into the heart and mind of God. Paul’s words in the verse above, defining love, in some regards, transcends human understanding. How so? Who can love that way? What human being who has ever lived, other than Jesus, do you think of when you read those words? Not many, right?
Yet, isn’t that our aspiration as a Jesus follower? Isn’t that the way we’d love to love and be loved? What if we could deny ourselves long enough to love like that? What if we could set ourselves aside, remove ourselves from the proverbial equation, and just love others without an agenda? What might that look like?
Think of the last 24 hours. Was there an instant you loved someone without thinking? Without consideration of your own feelings? Without checking your schedule or considering whether or not you had time or energy or whatever?
Think of those we consider and often label “hero.” What elevated them to that level in our thinking? Was it that they acted on impulse? They moved without thought to what it would mean to themselves. How many police officers and firefighters give of themselves selflessly in order to save a life, often at the cost of their own?
What if we could be more spontaneous in our love of and for Jesus? His plan from before the foundation of the world was to give His life in our place, to save us from ourselves and our sin. But every moment of His life was lived in complete surrendered devotion to His Father. “Not My will, but Yours be done” was His attitude, not only in the garden before His betrayal, but in every avenue of His life, every second He lived.
That’s quite interesting to me. Yes, of course, He had an agenda when He poured Himself into an embryo in the womb of a peasant girl named Mary. But His “agenda,” His purpose, was solely to honor God by making a way for us humans to see God more clearly and to be drawn to Him. He wanted us to be able to enjoy a relationship with God the Father like He had enjoyed and cherished since before the beginning of time.
His ”agenda” WAS love! Not only to give expression to what love is and means in very practical ways, but to teach us, through His life, what love should look like. Wasn’t that what was on His mind in the moments before His betrayal, when He poured out His heart to His disciples and when He prayed for them? Listen to His heart: “I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me. Father, I want these whom You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they can see all the glory You gave Me because You loved Me even before the world began!” (John 17:22-24)
So, how do WE love like Jesus, letting love be OUR agenda? Intimacy with the Father through His Spirit is the only way of which I’m aware. Love bathed in prayer and lived out in humility, just like Jesus, must become our agenda if we’re ever to love like Him.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊