I like to think of myself as a loving person. Love is one of my top priorities, but when I’m honest, I place a much higher priority on being loved than I do on loving well.
I am convicted when I read things like I Corinthians 13, which tells me that love is more important than having great knowledge, fantastic communication skills, awesome faith and charity. It tells me that sacrifice, even to the point of martyrdom is worthless without love. It tells me that when I love rightly, I will be patient, kind, not jealous, humble, above reproach, not selfish, not reactive, forgiving, and rejoicing in truth and not unrighteousness. It tells me that I will bear and endure all things, with belief and hope.
In John 13:34-35 and 15:12-17, Jesus makes it clear that to love one another as He has loved us is a commandment, and is tied inextricably to our testimony of Him. Ephesians 5:2 further unwraps it, as Paul tells us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
I’ll readily admit to you that I have no idea what it means to love someone, even those closest to me, like Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me completely unconditionally. I was not just neutral toward Him, I wanted everything He wasn’t and nothing that He was. He loves me with no regard to my sin. He loves me sacrificially, to the point of death. He knows more about me than anyone, every dark, bitter, lustful, angry thought, and He still loves me on a level that isn’t humanly comprehensible.
I am called to love like that. Whether I’m capable of it or not, I am commanded to do it. Most often I rest in my inability and ignore the call because it’s hard.
God, help me to be Jesus to the world around me. Help me to understand what it means when I say that, that Jesus came to bear the world’s wrongs in His holy self and demand no return on His investment. Help me to see that love that is Christ-emulating will always place another’s need before my own, will always consider others as more important than myself, and will always seek new and creative ways to deny myself for their benefit. Take up the slack between my inability and Your call. Help me walk into the impossible.
Originally posted to my Facebook page, September 21, 2013.