Love Like He Does

devo8With Valentine’s Day here and romantic love (or lack there-of) prevalent on many of our minds, it can be easy to forget about the committed love Christ has for us–which is why we chose this month’s theme to be “Pierce my heart to love like You do.” First Corinthians 13:6-8 is one of the better-known passages in the Bible about love, and one that describes real love very well. “…[Love] rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”

Christ’s commitment

Christ was so committed to us that He willingly died for us. God loves us so much that “He sent His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with Him. What immense love! God wants us to live with Him in heaven to such an extent that He sacrificed His only Son for us! When Jesus was on the cross, He became our sin. As Jesus was being tortured and dying, He cried out in agony, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Because of God’s love for us, He had to walk away from Jesus’ cries for help. This is all part of God’s plan for our salvation. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). And Rom 5:8, “But God demonstrates [proves] His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What amazing love God and Jesus had for us!

Action, not feeling

From God’s example, we see that love is not just a feeling. Love is showing action or doing something. Christ dying on the cross for us was a significant way to show us how much He loves us. First John 3:18 instructs us to, “…not love in word, or with tongue; but in deed and in truth.” That means that we are to show our love, not just say that we love someone. Jacob showed his love for Rachel when he served her father for her hand in marriage. Jacob said the seven years he served seemed to him only a few days because of how much he loved Rachel (Gen 29:20).

devo2Love is serving others, not out of expecting something in return but of actual love for a person, which we are able to do through God’s Holy Spirit in us. Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Love does not expect anything in return. Love is not selfish. When we care for a brand-new baby they cannot do anything for us in return, but we still love it, feed it, change it, and care for it. That is unselfish love (1 Corinthians 13:5). We must show our love even when we’re tired or not feeling well. Maybe we had a bad day, but since we may be the only person to show someone kindness, then we are obligated as a Christian, to show love, to serve others, and to be patient and kind toward them.

If we love as God loves, then that often means loving those who are difficult to love. The book of Ruth (only four chapters!) is a great example of real love, put into action, towards a difficult person. We can all be challenging to love sometimes—we are sinners–so we need to have the same love for others as Christ has for us. God even commands us to love those who persecute us. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” and John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

Love your enemies

Loving someone doesn’t give them permission to abuse us. While God commands us to love that person, He does not tell us we are to tolerate abuse or sin in their lives. Perhaps we need to have the mindset that Jesus had at the crucifixion when He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He commands us to love Him, and by loving Him we are also showing Him respect. If people are unkind toward us, then they do not have God in them, because 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” God is love and as we have seen, He is the perfect example of love.

devo7We must love our enemies and the people who are rude to us or who don’t appreciate our kindness or goodness. That is so hard to do, but we are told we must do it (Matthew 5:43-48). We don’t deserve God’s love but He loves us anyway and we are commanded to love others, whether or not we feel they deserve our love. Again, it doesn’t mean to allow abusive behavior, but we do have a choice as to how we react to that person. When we can’t love them for their sake, then we must find a way to love them for Christ’s sake–because of His love and sacrifice for us. First John 4:12 says, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” It might also help to remember this verse when others hurt us: Romans 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Love is …

We will conclude with this passage of the true essence of love: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, “…Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own [not selfish], is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Carol Gartman

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