What would it be like if all of Christ’s people sought to live out love and the Sermon on the Mount… if we sought His face about all else?
I got to thinking about this the other morning. Not that I’m perfectly living out love, (I’m learning and I fail in doing so just as much as anyone else who is truly seeking after God’s heart). But after seeing some fellow believers “jump ship” in certain areas, I really got to thinking about the response that Jesus would long for us to have. The below is an exhortation, a call to love like Jesus loves, and could also be used as a devotional. But remember this: We who belong to Christ are in this together.
We’re called to love one another. Whether we agree or disagree, no matter what the issue, we cannot stop loving one another. We are not to withhold love or respond in ways unlike Christ. We can’t just throw up our hands and say, “I’m done, I quit.” There is no quitting if we want to win the race. We press on to knowing Christ and growing in love.
We must speak the truth in love, leaving behind fleshly ways that want to shut the other out. We must keep pursuing love no matter how we feel and no matter what we think in our minds. No matter how hurt or wronged we feel, we’re not exempt from choosing love over self. (Ouch! That hurts! Change me, Lord!) We’re called to love, turning the other cheek by loving even when we disagree and think they’ve got something completely wrong.
And above all things, have a fervent love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
It is love that will win someone to the truth. Trying to make them get it by constantly bombarding them with words will only drive them away. Is our aim to love them first, or to convince them first? We must make sure our aim is to share God’s truth in love, that we are not just trying to convince someone of what is actually our own opinion. We needn’t convince people of our opinions, but it is God’s truth we are to share lovingly as His Spirit leads. Jesus’ way is faith working through love (Gal. 5:6), through humility and meekness. We share His truth & do not stand for sin, but we do so in His way and His timing–in the love of Christ.
What is love?
This is not love as the world defines it, but this kind of love is a choice, a self-sacrificial love, putting God and others above ourselves. It’s a love that takes you on a journey of learning how to walk it out more and more. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reveals this to us in a very helpful way:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (NASB)
We must not take offense, but guard our hearts above all else so that the springs of life coming forth from us are filled with selfless love (Prov. 4:23). We keep our eyes fixed on Christ who is our joy and our exceeding great reward (Heb. 12:2; Gen. 15:1), trusting Him to resolve any situation as He sees fit. We must simply keep trusting Him, praying His will, and loving Him and one another.
We seek to love like He loves, the One who forgave us, this One who does not shut us out of His life when we wrong Him (He never rejects us, nor does He leave us, see Heb. 13:5). When we were sinners, He welcomed us into His family upon our repentance when we gave our lives over to Him. How much more are we called to love and forgive as He has forgiven us! How much more are we called to be patient with those who wrong us, to pray for them and pour out His love on them as His vessel?
Love never fails. It bears all things, hopes all things. It endures to the end.
If we are to be the Body of Christ in full unity, we must love as He loves. A body can’t rip off one of its thumbs and still function properly; it can’t remove a leg and still be able to walk. When one part of the body is injured, the rest of the body helps to heal it so that the entire body can be whole again. We are in this together. (See Rom. 12:9-21.)
This is His commandment: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
We are called to love one another and live out Christlikeness in all areas of our lives, while standing firm, speaking His truth in love.
…let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth… (1 John 3:18)
Beloved, if God so loved us…we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:11)
God, show us Your heart, that we may love as You love. Teach us and anoint us with Your grace to love You and to love one another. I want to live out love in my life to Your glory! Root us in Your love that we love as You love. In Jesus’ name.