Have you ever heard these words and thought, “Yeah, tell me about it.”
Jesus said they will know we are Christians by the love we show one another. If the only way others can tell we love them is if we tell them, something is wrong.
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Gal. 5:13)
We are called to be free from the “law” of works to achieve right standing with God but we are to put ourselves under the law of love. The law of love will not do anything that will hurt the other person.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5:14)
Some people think that we can’t love others unless we love ourselves first. The problem is that we already love ourselves so much that we think we should always get what we want, when we want it and that the other person is responsible for giving it to us. The only way to overcome our selfish ways is to learn to love ourselves in the same way that God does. Once we learn to love as God does, we will have something really great to give others.
Mankind is very hung up on self right now. We still make excuses for our behavior and try to pretend we have something that we don’t.
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another. (Gal. 5:15)
Have we been set free so we can hurt others and then say, “I love you?” Those words are often used like a band aid and have lost their meaning. How can you say you love someone and then bite (or knock) their head off? How can you say you love someone and never spend time with them?
Mother Teresa said, “Love can never be expressed without time.” It takes time to do the little things other people need. If we are always too busy to feed our kids or change their diapers, it means we don’t love them. It takes love to be a servant. It takes God’s kind of love to lower yourself to meet the needs of others.
But isn’t this how they will know we love them? It is easy to write a check and mail it off to some charity in the name of love. It is not so easy to cut back on your career so that you can spend more time with your family.
So if we cut back on work we won’t have money to give or to buy things we think we need. We may think, “I love you so I work 16 hours a day to give you nice clothes and houses.” What does the family think? “I need someone to talk to and you are never here. You would be here if you really loved me.”
But I love you! Do you really love others? It is time to put away the world and put on Jesus Christ. He was the ultimate servant. He preached to huge crowds, healed the sick, and did miracles. But he also took the time to cuddle children, go to private dinners with tax collectors, and sit at a well with a woman no one else would talk to.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Jesus loved others with a pure heart, fervently. He was never too busy, too tired or too caught up in what he was doing. He knew how much he was loved by the Father and he was able to love others in the same way he was loved.
Being like Jesus is easy if we do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what he did! He had the fullness of the Spirit. Before Jesus, the Holy Spirit only rested upon people. Now we can have the fullness of the Spirit, dwelling within us, to help us be like Jesus.
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal.5:16)
How can we walk in the Spirit? We walk in the Spirit by submitting to God and making a decision to do things his way. And yes, we still have to grow into the full measure of the Spirit but at least we have started to move in the right direction. Half the battle is in admitting that we are wrong. The other half is in hanging in there until we are changed.
Words are cheap and easily thrown about without meaning. Others will know we love them by what we do. It comes by a look in the eye, a touch, a cool drink on a hot day, a loaf of bread to a hungry family, taking time to sit under a shade tree with your child. But most of all it comes by giving yourself completely to God.
Have you ever felt persecution from “religious” people? You know, those who say “I love you (the sinner) but I hate sin (what you are doing).” Most people do not realize that they are saying this to justify hating you. There is an attitude of self-righteousness that will come on people and you can feel it. It says “you don’t agree with me, therefore you are wrong.” We have to love each other regardless of how we feel or what the other person is doing. Love is more than words. Love is taking someone you don’t particularly like into your arms and letting God love them through you … accepting them just as they are, not demanding they change and agree with us.
When people hurt us it is real easy to feel justified in rejecting and criticizing them. Jesus didn’t. He prayed on the cross: Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing. He was 100% sold out to being like God. We will never be able to give others more than we have given God. If we are not 100% sold out to do his will, we will be wishy-washy in everything we do.
Being 100% for God doesn’t mean we are perfect. It doesn’t mean we are always right. It simply means be have made a decision to do things God’s way and let him bring it to pass. It also means we have decided to forgive the stupidity of others and love them anyway.
Love is the very nature of God. And since His love is spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit we should also have the same love nature of God in us to love others. When we submit to God he gives us the grace we need to allow his love to flow out to others.
Grace is: God working in us to give us the ability to do what we can’t do in our own strength.
We can boldly say that as he is so am I in this world. Why? Because God is love, therefore, I am love. As he is so am I.
God shows us a basic love principle in 1 John 4:19:
We love him because he first loved us.
We cannot buy love. There is only one way to get it from others and that is to give it … first. Jesus made himself of no reputation and came to earth as a servant. He gave himself to serve people who didn’t even know they needed help.
God was in Christ Jesus manifesting himself to the world. He was doing more than just saying “I love you.” He knew we would never be able to love if he didn’t show us how. If we know how much God loves us we will let him manifest himself to the world through us.
Love is more than a few words. Love is God in action.
God, forgive me for not allowing you to love others through me. I give you permission to do a work in my heart. Change me from the inside out. I want to manifest you to my family. I want to manifest you to the world. I want to be a servant. I want to be just like Jesus. I seek to please you and not man. You are love and I want to be just like you.