WotW: “Greater” love

 

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My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. – John 15:12-14 (NIV)

 It is easy to approach loving like Christ flippantly. We go to church, try to live by the golden rule, proudly display our Christian status on our jewelry, car, apparel or Facebook page, verbally acknowledge our faith every now and then, and subconsciously mark the checks on our list of what it means to live and love as a Christian.

But that is not the love of Christ.

Before Christ left, he summarized his life’s (and death’s) work in four letters: l-o-v-e. And not simply love, but a love that stood apart and above through self-sacrifice and service. As His disciples, and as His friends, we are commanded to love like Christ.

And Christ lived to love.

His speech, works, relationships, and even his travel itinerary was guided by His love for others. He loved those whom He could trust, and He loved those who would betray Him. When He was at what could be considered the height of his success popularity, He loved those around Him. When it seemed like He hung alone, on a cross, shamefully displayed for all to see, He loved still.

He did not allow pride, bitterness, or anger to derail His love. Hanging on the cross, he did not say, “I’ll forgive you but I won’t forget. I can love you, but I won’t be your fool.” Instead, He prayed for the forgiveness of his accusers even as they stood mocking and cursing Him.

Christ’s love moved Him beyond finger-pointing and blaming. Christ-like love offers mercy when judgment is deserved. Loving like Christ means praying for the benefit of those who maliciously attack us, even as they are plotting or acting against us. Loving like Christ means being patient with, and offering grace, to those who walk away from us, or abandon us, during those times when they should have stood by us the most. Loving like Christ means being willing to set aside what we want, or feel we deserve, for the best interest of others.

This greater type of selfless love may seem difficult in our normal day-to-day life. But, during painful or difficult seasons, Christ-like love may seem almost impossible – especially when we must show this love to the very ones who are causing us pain. Yet, Jesus knows our struggles. He understands that it is not easy to love during tribulation because He experienced betrayal and hurt. However, Christ acknowledges that love shown in this manner is of the highest caliber when He says, “Greater love has no man than this”.

Perhaps you are in a season where your ability to love is being stretched and tested. Trust God to give you the strength to love through your pain. He will bless your willingness, and through your obedience you may find that healing and life not only overcome you, but those who you are determined to love as well.

Comments

  1. I am loving this word for the week. As I read I hear Smokie Norful singing in sweet worship “No greater love, no greater love” and I hear it over and over and I am arrested in this space thinking of the magnitude of GREATER love. Mmm. To think Jesus loves me greater, wants the BEST for me…greater, shapes and molds my character for greater. Thank for the these messages on greater. Happy to be joining you from #frontporchinspired
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