1 John 4:7 -9 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Love Initiates-I John 4:10, Romans 5:8, John 3:16
Another way to say this might be “Love makes the first move.” John 3:16-“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” The reason for the cross of Christ was the unconditional love of God.
And God doesn’t come close because He needs us. He comes close because He knows we need Him. Are we taking the initiative in our homes to move toward each other in love and out of recognition that our family members have a need to feel loved?
Love Sacrifices-John 15:12-13-“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” The most intense love ever displayed was seen on the cross when “Love ran red” as Chris Tomlin sings. There is no real love without sacrifice. Ephesians 5:1-2 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
We are to imitate the way God loved us through Christ by living a life of love. It is unlikely that any of us will be called to lay down our lives for someone else, although it could happen, but what Paul is saying is that there needs to be a sacrificial element to our love for others. Jesus didn’t just give money or some time. He gave Himself. Is the component of sacrifice on display in our homes?
On a night when Jesus should have been concerned about Himself, you know with the upcoming arrest, flogging and crucifixion and all, at a time when He should have sought comfort from His friends, when He could have demanded some “time to Himself,” He instead served His disciples by washing their feet.
I’m not sure which feature of love, whether sacrifice or service, I would say is most important. Both service and sacrifice require that we spend time thinking about the needs of others. Sometimes sacrifice is for a season or a short period of time or a once-in-awhile necessity, but servanthood? That is to be a way of life for the believer. Obviously, Jesus placed a great deal of importance on serving if we are told in John 13:1 that Jesus, wanting to show the FULL EXTENT of His love, did so by stooping to serve the disciples.
I truly believe our homes can become places of great inspiration when we work to outdo each other by serving each other. Without waiting to be asked, pitch in and offer the extra gesture as a routine way of life.
Love Invests-John 15:15-17
Jesus loved His followers so much that He taught them. He disclosed things to them that others didn’t know. He made them partners in His Kingdom work. He talked them up. He bolstered them. He gave them authority. He showed confidence in them, even when they didn’t get it right! He invested time in them. He placed expectations on them to inspire them to go out and win souls for the Kingdom. He taught them what they needed to know in order to succeed, and He spoke words of victory over their lives. The power of love is that it can transform people. Jesus, through His investment in their lives, transformed the disciples into powerhouse for the Kingdom of God!
Each of us has people in our lives whether children, other relatives, co-workers, friends or neighbors that we can show God’s love to by investing in them, by giving them opportunities, by speaking words of victory over their lives.
Love Survives-I Corinthians 13:7-8 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
Once we accept God’s love, we are always connected to its power to transform us, to empower us, and to protect us. Christian, God always has your back. He always has your best interest in mind. He always is reaching for you. He is always praying for you. He is always loving you even when you fail. His love is enduring. It isn’t based upon your performance. He loves you in this moment as much as He has ever loved you or ever will love you. As someone once said, “Love is a commitment with a beginning and no end.” Real love has an enduring quality.
What would happen in our homes if we dug in our heels and in our hearts made the vow that we would commit to loving each other no matter what and prove that vow with our behavior? Could we take the approach that we have each other’s backs? Could we live to show each other we always have each other’s best interests in mind? Can we love each other even when someone fails us?
Loving like Jesus is a tall order. We’ve only scratched the surface on the topic, but given that Jesus says loving God and others is the GREATEST commandment it would serve us well to take what we have just read to heart and try to put it into practice.
Let’s go and love like Jesus!