Friday, January 21, 2011

Loving as God Loves

"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."
John 3:16

We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, but our love for Him is only a response to His immeasurable love for us. God the Father gave His only Son to be treated as a criminal and to die on a cruel instrument of torture - a wooden cross. Jesus willingly yielded Himself to the Father's will. His obedience meant that Christ would suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually. God's love for us is amazing.

The Scripture says that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, our love for God and others is initiated and sustained by God's great love for us. When we are born into the family of God, we receive a new nature - God's nature - which is love. 1 John 4:16 says, "God is love." At the new birth, we receive within us the ability to love as God loves. We are only able to do this as we depend on the Holy Spirit to flow through us.

The love of God within us is like a fruit that must be cultivated and nurtured. God desires for this fruit to flourish. When we meditate upon and obey the commands of Scripture, we grow in love (See 1 John 5:2). As we obey the truth found in the word of God, we are acting in love. Also, when we choose to look after the needs of others, we love as Jesus loves.

It is also important to recognize that love is not a feeling but a choice. We do not always feel loving or kind; therefore, we cannot be led by our emotions in this matter. When we obey the Lord, our feelings will usually follow, but our feelings are not to be the focus. Instead, our obedience is what matters.

Let's follow our Lord's example. Let's learn to deny ourselves to benefit others. God the Father offered His Son so that we could be saved. And God the Son laid down His life for us. Our Lord's great love teaches us to love others, and His nature within us enables us - with the help of the Holy Spirit - to reach out even to those that are difficult to love.

Dear Precious Lord,

Help us to grow in love. Teach us to be sensitive to the needs of those around us. Enable us to obey your word so that we can love as You love. Lord, show each of us one person who needs Your love and compassion, and help us make a difference in his or her life. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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