Think of the person you love the most. What would you be willing to do for that person? Would you give them your favorite t-shirt? Would you give them a dessert that was specially made for you? Would you give them an incredibly expensive piece of jewelry that you were given as a gift? Would you clean their bathroom for them? What would you be willing to sacrifice?
We make sacrifices every day in the name of love. That’s part of loving someone. We may not see our actions as sacrifices, but that’s the nature of love. Jesus Christ, our perfect model of love, gave His life because He loved us so much. 1 John 3:16-18 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Love involves selfless sacrifice. It’s setting someone else before our self. When we love, we see the needs and burdens of another before we see our own. Love is demonstrated through action. We understand that someone loves us by what she does for us or how she acts and responds toward us. Love is active.
As humans, we cannot always fully love in this manner. We are frail, our hearts can become broken, we’re insecure and we need love in order to give love. That’s why it’s essential for us to look to Jesus as our model of love, rely on His Spirit to give us the necessary strength to love and ask Him for insight on how to love others. It’s easier to talk about love then it is to actually love. But, God has called us to love others the way He loves us. Therefore, people will know we’re followers of Christ because the way we love is reflective of the way Christ loves us. God’s heart is so much greater than our hearts. He has the capacity to love, even though we don’t.
God Loves His Enemies
God’s heart is so tremendous that He’s able to love people who hate Him. God has asked us to love our enemies. In Matthew, He mentions how there’s no reward for loving those who love you. Instead, God’s goodness radiates when we love those who are hard to love because the evil one despises our compassion. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48) God also asks us to actively reach out to people who may not be a part of our social group and community. They may not be our enemies, but they are people we don’t regularly associate with.
God Loves Those Incapable of Loving
God’s not only capable of loving His enemies; He’s able to love things that are incapable of returning love. We proclaim that we might love ice cream, flowers or the season of fall, but do we love them enough to care for them so they return again and again? God loves the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field, neither of which can return love. He provides their every need and gives them their beauty. Psalm 36:5 says God’s love reaches to the heavens. The whole universe is filled with His love. He loves all that He has made, so how much more will He love us, who are made in His own image? God desires a relationship with us. He wants to share with us how to love and care for the world He created for us. His desire is so strong that He loves us even when we hate Him and accuse Him of our pain and sorrow.
Some of our favorite scriptures reflecting on God’s abundant love for us:
“Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down his life for his friends.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus says, “the reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again.”
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
God Loves People No One Else Wants to Love
God also loves the people who no one else is willing to love. While on earth, Jesus actively loved the lepers. He saw them when no one else would. He touched them and healed them when everyone else ignored them and fled. His actions brought hope back into the hearts of those living in despair. When we engage with those who experience little love, we bring them new life.
No, we can’t love perfectly, but we can love genuinely. Loving genuinely means encouraging others to do the same, especially when they’re holding on to something that is keeping them from truly loving. Our loving actions and deeds are contagious, so we should love often. At the very least, love by complimenting and lifting others up. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1) We all need encouragement, which will renew the heart of the depressed and down trodden. Love is consuming. When we choose to love, it will involve our whole heart and entire being.
The best way for us to demonstrate love to others is to simply trust and obey the Lord. Whoever has Christ’s commands and obeys them, loves Him. The Greatest Commandment is to “Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30) When we love Him, our love for Him will overflow into love for others, which is the second Greatest Commandment. Love is the focus of all God’s laws and Jesus came to fulfill the law. So, let the Lord’s love radiate through you by actively seeking out opportunities to love.