‘Lead a life of love, just as Christ did. He loved us. He gave himself up for us. He was a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.’ Eph.5:2 NIRV
Almost everyone would agree that ‘living a life of love’ is the best way to live.
The world tells us that before you can love others, you must love yourself, claiming that this involves being ‘true to yourself’ – fulfilling your potential, achieving your goals. It says that as long as you don’t hurt anyone, do whatever you like and become whoever you want to be, then you will be in the right condition to love others.
No longer living to please ourselves, but instead living to please God, just as Jesus did.
Jesus tells us differently. In Matthew 22:37-39 he says first, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind’, then ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
How do we love God with our whole being? By giving God our lives, intellect, time, money, relationships, talents – holding nothing back! No longer living to please ourselves, but instead living to please God, just as Jesus did. Why would we do this? Because God has already proven his love to us in the giving of his Son (Romans 5:8). Then, with his help, we can start to love other people as Christ loves us.
Paul wrote, ‘Lead a life of love, just as Christ did.‘ A practical exercise to help us improve in this is to sift through the description of love in 1 Cor. 13:4-8 & find examples from the Lord’s life that match each descriptor. For example:
Love is patient
‘Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”’ John 14:8-9.
Love is kind
‘And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them…” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.’ Mark 10:13-16
Love is not proud
‘...taking a towel, [Jesus] tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet…’ John 13:1-16
Love is not easily angered
‘Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge’ Matthew 27:13-14.
Now, go back through these yourself and think of aspects of your own life where you can put his example into practice.
Of course, sometimes we will fail at living this life of love because, unlike our Lord, we are innately selfish. But – his love for us never fails.
‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus… For the joy set before him, he endured the cross…Consider him… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ Hebrews 12:1-3
Joy Jones, Church of God in Aberkenfig