“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV).
We often describe the Christian life as a journey, or more specifically a walk. I believe there are good reasons for that.
When we come to faith in Jesus we renounce our citizenship of planet Earth and become citizens of Heaven. At that point we begin a journey, of years if not miles, toward our eternal home. While there are those of us who enjoy running for fun and fitness, it is generally accepted that our endurance over the course of a lifetime is best achieved by a much slower pace.
We also tend to miss things when we hurry, such as beautiful scenery displaying the glory and splendor of God. We also tend to miss out on relationships with both Christian and non-Christian alike. Jesus never intended for us to live exclusionary lives. We are to be in the world, but not of it (John 17:14-16). That means that while we are here we have a purpose to serve, and a world that needs to hear the Good News of Jesus.
The most important lesson we can learn, the most powerful tool in our spiritual kit, is love. Love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Love for the lost. Love for those who have done us wrong.
We can’t drum up love. It doesn’t come from reading about it. It doesn’t come from just praying about it.
The Lord knows all too well that there are some people who are extremely difficult to love. I know, too. I’ve met some of them. Some of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ!
Love for others starts with love for God. But I’ve learned from experience that love for God does not always translate into love for others. Love for God, however, should translate into a desire to love others.
Love for God, coupled with a desire to love and serve others, leads to a holy surrender. This is when we lay aside our “rights” and give ourselves to serving Jesus. We lay aside our “right” to be treated kindly and with respect. We lay aside our “right” to return evil for evil (which we should have done already anyway!). We decide to be so full of Jesus that when they poke us we spill Jesus and His love all over them.
Surrender to Christ is the benchmark of discipleship.
Jesus was our example. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV).
Yes, some people are difficult to love. I’m sure I still have my moments. But Jesus loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). And He still loves us in spite of the ugliness we often display to each other and the world.
The love of Jesus lived out by you and me has the power to melt a heart of stone. When Jesus says, “Love”, who are we to withhold that which He freely gave to us?
Blessings on your weekend!