Love is not a feeling of admiration, it is a commitment to a person despite their imperfections.” – Vanna Bonta.
Love is one of the most important expressions in the world. Everyone is looking for love, nobody has had enough of love. Love is like a two-edged sword, it can be your source of joy or your source of pain. The quest for love is a universal human experience, and it has been a driving force for people throughout history. Love is a fundamental human need, and it can bring immense joy, fulfillment, and meaning to our lives. The importance of love can be seen in the many forms it takes, including romantic love, familial love, and platonic love, among others.
The pursuit of love can also be challenging and complex, and it can involve a range of emotions and experiences, from joy and happiness to heartbreak and pain. Despite these challenges, the desire for love and connection remains a powerful force in human life, inspiring people to explore new possibilities, take risks, and grow as individuals.
To love well, the way we were made to love, we must lovingly emulate the way that Jesus loved.
Two clear instructions from the scriptures make this very clear.
1. “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way, I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34,35
2. “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” – Eph 5:1-2
We are debtors, owing others love because of the deposit of love that God paid forward for us. The only way we can show gratitude for the love we have benefited from is to love others just the way Jesus has loved us. This love is extravagant, lavish, sacrificial, and reckless. It wasn’t love for the sake of ROI, it was love for the sake of giving everything to us. This is the same way we are commanded to love.
To love rightly a few things pop up. First, we must have an intimate relationship with God. This intimate relationship will make us bring us to see through the same lens as Jesus and then be able to operate with the same love with which he operated. As we focus our attention on Jesus and study how he lived and loved, we can pick up what God expects will be the pattern of our lives and our love.
Here is some of how Jesus loved, and it needs to be a part of our love journeys too. As a follower of Jesus, we must manifest love in these same ways too.
1. He healed the sick: Jesus showed love and compassion to people who were suffering from physical ailments by healing them. He cured blind people, paralyzed people, lepers, and many others who needed healing. In Mark 1:40-45, a man with leprosy came to Jesus, begging Him to heal him. Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the man, restoring his health and allowing him to return to his community.
2. He fed the hungry: Jesus multiplied a few loaves of bread and fish to feed thousands of people who had come to hear Him preach. In John 6:1-14, a large crowd had followed Jesus, and He saw that they were hungry. He took a few loaves of bread and fish, blessed them, and miraculously multiplied them to feed the entire crowd.
3. He forgave sins: Jesus showed love and mercy to people by forgiving their sins, which only God could do. In Luke 7:36-50, a woman who was known to be a sinner came to Jesus and washed His feet with her tears and anointed them with expensive perfume. Jesus forgave her sins and told her that her faith had saved her.
4. He spent time with people: Jesus often spent time with people who were considered outcasts or marginalized by society, such as tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers. He showed them love and acceptance, which was something they had never experienced before. In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus went to the house of a tax collector named Zacchaeus, who was an outcast in society. Jesus spent time with him and showed him love and acceptance, which led to Zacchaeus’ repentance and salvation.
5. He taught people about God: Jesus taught people about God’s love and His desire to have a personal relationship with each of us. He also taught about God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace. In John 3:16-17, Jesus taught about God’s love for the world and how He sent His only Son to save us. He also taught about the importance of believing in Him and having eternal life.
A quick look at how Jesus showed love reveals a very interesting fact that we mostly overlook in our love challenges. He didn’t show love based on his human capacity alone. There were other factors present in Jesus’ life that made him able to do all he did. This factor is not far-fetched as it is captured in the look of Acts. This was “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” – Acts 10:38. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and with power, and God was with him. This would have been our excuse, except that Jesus made it clear to us that this was not on his exclusive list.
Jesus told his disciples very clearly to wait until they received the person he was living with them – the Holy Spirit. He assured them that the power needed to do the work of loving people would only be released to them by the Holy Spirit. He also told them what to expect as believers, not as pastors, prophets or apostles, but as believers – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” – Mark 16:17-18
To obey the commandment of Jesus, we must be soaked in the word and prayer, the two key habits for building intimacy with God. We must commit to a life of obedience and must surrender to the authority and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We need God’s presence and power in our lives as we reach out to love others. We are not healers, we are not dead raisers. Jesus does all of that, and he lives in us. We are channels and conduits. We are God’s carriers. Ours is to show up in obedience and count the testimonies of what the Lord has done.
As we embark on our 30 days love challenge, and even if you are not on the challenge – look out for opportunities to love as Jesus loved! May God bless and increase you.