There is a growing desire in the hearts and minds of those around us to know and want to feel love. Not the love that we just throw around, but a knowing that everything is ok and a love that permeates our entire being. Love is the only way to eradicate hate and bring hope to someone’s life.
People all around are looking for a God who is not full of wrath, but love. Yet many times, we take a look at some people and write them off, as if they’re hopeless. However, we are commanded to love those around us and we are to show them that true love comes only from God and God alone.
The greatest force and thing in the world/universe is love. And to the degree, we love God is to the degree that we will love others. There are three aspects to God’s love:
1. It’s a command.
(NLT) Mark 12:39-31; “Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.””
Most people say they love others, but in reality, they are saying quite the opposite. We say we love people but the reality is, we condemn them and do not accept them. Jesus said to love those as we love ourselves.
People all around us are hurting from emotional trauma, abuse, financial crisis, self-inflicted crisis due to drugs, porn, and eating disorders.
They are looking for someone to comfort them in their time of need. They’re looking for that void to be filled.
What does it mean to love others as our self?
I say it this way, “To the degree, we love God is to the degree we love our self, is to the degree we will love others.”
Yet the opposite is also as true, to the degree we love others is to the degree we love ourselves and that reflects our love relationship with God. Because Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our High Priest, we have this desire to draw near to his heart. In that drawing near, we will begin to see people as God sees them.
God is calling us to lay everything aside for the sake of his Kingdom. It is not about us, it is about fulfilling the Great Commission. We are to love others around us as Christ loved them. That’s what being a Christ-follower is all about—loving people into the Kingdom of God—to awaken in their spirit man to a God who loves them and has a plan for their lives.
2. It’s a Relationship
Our goal is not just to get people to say THE salvation prayer. Our goal is to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not say to go out and make converts, he said, make disciples and teach them. The idea is to build a relationship with those who do not know Christ on a personal level and show them how a relationship with God looks.
Jesus took the disciples and showed them how to live. I think the church has a mindset that if we don’t tell someone else how to live according to the rules and regulations of the church, then they are not truly following after God.
But is that love?
Building a relationship with others is not a quick path; it is a marathon. I remember a high school student I worked with at a local grocery store in my hometown. He had so many questions about faith, life, and how I was living. I was honored.
I befriended him and began to see a change. Yet what hurt the most was when he walked away offended at something that happened to him, and today is no longer walking with God, that is if he ever was.
There will be times in your life when you feel betrayed but do not let that harden your heart because the next person is just around the corner waiting to know who God is.
Our goal is to show them the path to walk, but do not walk it for them–that is very dangerous–help them walk the path on their own.
Jesus wants to court us. He wants to get to know us inside and out. His love for us reaches deeper and further than we could ever hope or imagine. When Jesus laid down His life for us, He made an everlasting covenant—a covenant that we can sign our name to. He created a way for us to be united in marriage to God.
3. It’s a Marriage.
When people think of a marriage to Jesus, it tends to bring about a strange feeling and emotion in them. Some think the idea is just weird, while others take it too far and make it into this ooy gooey, ultra-spiritual thing.
I tend to look at it as a covenant with God. A covenant is one that is not to be broken without consequences. A covenant is something so deep in meaning that if broken all trust is lost—and can never be regained again.
What is a covenant?
Dictionary: “agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people.”
Only we can break a covenant with God, God cannot and will not break any covenant that He makes with us. Jesus, through His death, burial and resurrection, made a covenant with us to bring us out of eternal damnation so that we can have life evermore. When we show people how to have a relationship with God, it is like starting from scratch. Life is just a brand new thing, this is why it is called being born-again.
Because the way of life that we once knew, after being born, is now dead and gone; 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
And the new life we have in Christ Jesus is new, born-again.
This is what it means to love others beyond ourselves. In a world gone mad with hate and evil, only the love of God and His Church that will eradicate evil and bring the love and hope so many are looking for today.
Question: How are you loving your neighbor? Leave a comment by clicking here!