Saturday, January 16, 2016

Love Them Like Jesus

Shortly before His death, Jesus commanded His disciples to "love one another," what do you think He meant by that? Maybe if we read the actual text we can gain some insight.

"34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13: 34-35

That sounds all warm and fuzzy. Everyone should love one another. Imagine a world filled with love. There would be no hate, only love. No wars, no arguments. That would be great! But Jesus also told us that, "In this world you will have trouble." - John 16:33. So I guess everyone "loving each other" is not going to be happening. Yet we re still commanded to love one another . . . and to love our neighbor . . . and to love our enemies.

The world in which we live seems to have more than it's share of evil these days. Shootings, stabbings, people running over their "neighbors" with vehicles . . . on purpose. Our political leaders seem very eager to through their fellow man "under the bus," figuratively, as seen in either party's presidential debates. And these are our would-be leaders? Where's the love?

I scroll down the Facebook news feed and I can see example after example of people either hating one another or loving themselves. Let's go back and read that verse again. Maybe we missed something.

"34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:"

That seems simple enough. Are we just not getting it? Or are we simply ignoring it? I think that's it. We are deliberately choosing to ignore a command from God. That's probably not good. Why would we do that!?!? Keep reading.

Jesus wants us to "love one another: . . . just as I have loved you."  So . . . what does THAT mean? How has Jesus loved us?

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." - Ephesians 5:1-2

There's that phrase again - "as Christ loves us" - only THIS time there is an explanation attached. Jesus "gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Hmm.

So we are supposed to live our lives as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God?

Well,  . . . Yes. Yes we are.

So what does that look like? How can we live our lives like that? Do we sacrifice our own needs and desires if needed so we can serve others. We should. When we see someone in need, do we offer to help? We should. And why? Because we are doing it for God. It is OUR sacrifice.

I pray that this week God would provide us with opportunities to serve Him. Commit a random act of kindness for someone. Reach out to someone who is hurting. And do so in the name of Christ. God has told us that He doesn't want animal sacrifices. The usefulness of those sacrifices became obsolete when Jesus went to the cross, sacrificing Himself for us.

It's quite simple really. We are to love all people, ALL people, like Jesus loves us. Unconditionally, sacrificially, eternally. Let us be about His business while we still have the time. And let us do so . . . as long as it is called today.
Love Them Like Jesus - Casting Crowns

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