For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:11-18 NIV (Bible)
Happy New Year 2020.
I have learned that the command to love can be both inspiring and suffocating. On the one hand, I am made to love and want to love like Jesus did. On the other hand, I know my own weaknesses, and some people God calls me to love aren’t always the most lovable. When I’m driven by my feelings rather than the commitment to love, I find it hard to love people. I guess, this happens to you as well. The truth is that loving God and loving people is not an option since it is a command.
But as with all the commands of God, we must not only see what God asks of us but also how he has met that need himself in the gospel on our behalf. Jesus, who is fully human and fully divine in his humanity felt that the cup filled with the wrath of God be passed by (My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” —Matthew 26:39) but he lived by his commitment to love God and love people by drinking it so that we might be made right with God.
We must love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. I have found that this is the command where I keep failing again and again. This righteous standard of God makes us suffocating at times when we aren’t able to keep while we want so desperately. That’s why true love is beyond our ability.
The reality is that we need to focus and meditate on the gospel where love was defined and displayed. We only know what love really is by looking to our saviour Jesus Christ. And we continually learn from him, not just once as we live life. We must daily go to the Cross ➕ and see our saviour’s love for the unlovable. Then only we will be able to grow in love and love the unlovable.
When I see the sacrificial love (for the wicked, wretched & rebellious) of Christ in the gospel then only I understand the real love and find strength and power to love God and love people. His love flows from us. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay our lives for others.