Jesus gave His disciples important, last-minute teachings on the day before He died and one was about love. John records it in 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” NIV. We all would like to carry out this command. It’s a natural response to the great love He has poured out on us. But is it even possible to love like Jesus?
Jesus wouldn’t have given us this directive if it were impossible. And He left us with the tools to love as He did. Let’s dig in!
Jesus Teaching on Love
When the Pharisees tested Jesus with the question of which commandment was the greatest; He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV.
To love like Jesus begins with loving Him, our creator and living personal God, first.
How do we do this?
♥With all your heart: being devoted to Him in all aspects of your life.
Loving Jesus with all your heart means you choose, regardless of your feelings, to place your life in His hands. It means you surrender and trust yourself to Him and His ways.
♥With all your soul: not an emotional love, but your “core”- the deepest part of you.
When God formed Adam from the dust of the ground, Gen 2:7 says “and the man became a living being.” I checked out the Blue Letter Bible on this verse, and the Hebrew word for “living being” is SOUL.
Loving God with all your soul means connecting with and being deeply rooted in the God who formed you.
♥With all your mind: reading His word, seeking to understand it, learn from it, living it. It’s an important component to being connected, rooted and being able to trust in Him completely.
Jesus is asking us to love Him with our entire person; in every thought and act. He gave Himself up for us because of His great love and asks the same in return.
Hmmm, this is where I start to squirm. This sounds difficult… But keep reading…
Loving Others as God Loves Us
His second commandment tells us to love others as we love ourselves.
What does that mean?
Plain and simple, Jesus wants us to have a genuine concern for the welfare of others as much we do for ourselves.
How to Love Others
Loving our neighbor means living out all the attributes Paul lays out for us in his famous “Love Verses” in 1 Corinthians 13: patience, kindness, love without envy or boasting or pride. Our love should never be rude or demanding of our own way. It’s not irritable. There is no record keeping of wrongs done against us. Love rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres through any circumstance.
Well I know I definitely fail in this department… but He’s not done yet…
The Greek word “love” in this verse love is agape- a sacrificial love that’s not just a warm feeling/emotion, but putting the welfare of others above our own.
Am I making you feel any better about this command to love yet? Because I’m thinking it’s sounding more and more impossible as I write each sentence!
If you’re thinking the same, you are right. It is impossible for us. Our human nature gets in the way. We judge other’s faults and can act selfish and spiteful. We remember hurtful words and actions and can harbor resentment.
Even with our best efforts to love like Jesus, we fail.
Jesus knew this, and He generously provides us the key to our problem and some encouragement:
“With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27.
The power to accomplish the impossible comes only from God.
Pin me for later!
The Power to Love like Jesus
We need the power of God to love as He does. And not only did He give us this power; He settled it deep into our soul. His Holy Spirit living within us is HIS power for us to use.
His power will work proportionally in our lives. Here’s how:
As we allow Him to live in us, guiding and convicting us, He provides the strength and power to help us fulfill His love commandments.
Related Post♥ Focus On God
“For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.
How To Love Like Jesus
Start with prayer!
•Jesus’ love was extravagant and sacrificial. Pray for the ability to love expecting nothing in return.
•Jesus loved, respected, and valued all– especially the poor, outcasts, sick and disabled. Pray to see each person you meet with His vision.
•Jesus had great compassion for the suffering ones He encountered. Pray for a compassionate heart filled with His love so we can give it to others.
•Jesus was humble, patient and gentle. Pray that the Fruits of the Spirit would manifest themselves as He leads you. If we work at cultivating the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, He will give us the loving heart and mind for others that He has. He will train us to see others with His eyes and perspectives. We will see the value that God places on them, and not depend on our feelings or judgments.
•Jesus modeled grace and mercy for us. Pray for a heart that does not leap to judgments.
Love in Action
Jesus sets the bar on love awfully high, doesn’t He?
To “walk in love” like Jesus takes action and commitment. Underneath it all, we need the desire and motivation to love like Him.
Try to be mindful each day and look for opportunities to show His love. Look for ways to connect with people, even in small ways.
We will fail- that’s a given. Pick yourself up and start again. He can make us new every day, and it is His desire to do so.
When I know I will be in a difficult situation or be in contact with a difficult person, I pray beforehand for the strength to show His love.
Beyond obedience, desire, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit comes action and commitment to loving others like Jesus. I’ve compiled a list of practical ways to show His love. Let me know of ways you’ve shown God’s love, and I’d love to add them to this list!
Bible Verses about Love
“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” John 3:18 NLT
“We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV
Blessings of love,
Photo Credit: AnnMarie Anderson