Earlier today, I posted about “True Love” the love that God had for us that sent Jesus to the cross to die; I hope you will read it. Now, we move on to our love for one another as His disciples.
I know that I don’t need to recite all of the passages about love in the New Testament, for I’m sure that we all are aware of the fact that we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. We may not usually connect the concept of love with the word command, but Jesus pit the two together in Matthew 19:19. So, if love can be commanded, it cannot be a mere emotion that we feel; it must be a choice we are to make.
It is a choice to set our own interests aside and put those of others ahead of our own. It is a choice to serve God by serving others in a way that advances God’s purpose. It is what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that the first would be last and the last would be first; that he who finds his life will lose it and that he who loses his life will find it. You might want to take a look at yesterday’s post on Covenant here for more on love as a covenant imperative.
Please ask yourself what your world would look like if you remembered to put the interests of others ahead of your own interests. Yes, that includes the ones that are not so easy to love, the stranger, the person out there in the margin that others prefer to avoid. Don’t forget that these are the people who Jesus took God’s love to time and time again… but do we?
Isn’t it true that for most of us, putting others first, that is showing love, is more like saying something nice to our friends and associates every once in a while? Oh, we might be really good folks; maybe we’re nice to our friends all the time as we step over the homeless person, or look the other way when someone we don’t know very well needs help, but is that what Jesus would do?
What if that had been His attitude when the day came for Him to be nailed to the cross? OK, I don’t want to think about that one either.
The challenge for all of us who call ourselves His disciple is to reach out in love without regard for our own needs or wants, to make even the unattractive, valued members of the Body of Christ, and to demonstrate what the love of Jesus Christ looks like in action. All of us need to think on these things, myself included, and pray earnestly that God will give us the courage, the strength and the love to share with others in service to Him.