People may ask you what motivates you to do the things you do? Why would you put yourself out? The universal answer is love or money, isn’t it? So how is love expressed most convincingly? For love’s sake, what would you be willing to do?
Most folks think love is best expressed by doing something nice like giving a gift of flowers and chocolates, or maybe sharing a nice evening out. Making people happy by doing an unexpected deed is so pleasant and fun. It’s always easy to do something for someone you care about. Even people not in love can do something nice for another.
For Christians, the answer is love for our Lord Jesus Christ. The kind of love Jesus demonstrated by dying on a cross to pay for sin was a sacrificial love. If we are to love as Jesus loves, then we must understand true love requires sacrifice; time, money, effort etc.
The Bible provides wonderful insight about how to demonstrate love. The Apostle Paul teaches us a good description of love in the well-known love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s the list:
Love is longsuffering.
Love is kind.
Love is not envious.
Love is not boastful or prideful.
Love does not behave inappropriately.
Love is not self-serving.
Love is not easily provoked.
Love believes the best in others.
Love does not enjoy sin, i.e. one’s own or others’.
Love rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things.
Love believes and hopes in all things.
No one fulfills this description of love perfectly. The love Paul talks about is completely foreign to our nature. We have a sin nature that always seeks its own way. To exhibit love God’s way, we have to crucify self. Others must take the preeminence over ourselves. That means we have to love others more than we love ourselves.
Paul told the Romans to “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10, KJV). Putting others ahead of self sometimes requires a personal sacrifice. However, it is not necessarily always denying oneself, but sometimes merely delaying to meet our own needs.
The greatest love mankind can experience is the love from God. When He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the penalty for sin, God was exhibiting a great love for sinful people. He sought to extend forgiveness and reconciliation to all those who would believe and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Paul tells us in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Mankind sinned against God, but He made a way for us to have peace between us. Then He made a way for us to keep the peace between us when He sent the Holy Spirit to live in the heart of each Believer. The Holy Spirit is the assurance of God’s love, and actively works in men’s hearts to bring about change so that we may begin to exhibit Godly love.
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:5-6
We demonstrate our love for Jesus by keeping His commandments. Jesus explained, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” (John 15:9-10)
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can actively love others just as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love constrains us to do many things. Let us choose to love our Lord with whole hearts, thankful for His mercy and grace. Then let us extend our love to others, helping them also to be forgiven and reconciled with God through Jesus.
Copyright 2013 by Linda Hull, Words of Encouragement