As I begin this study, I’ve come to realize that I need to know what exactly what love looks like. Yes, we all say “love” a lot about people, places, and things. Yet, in practice what does it look like when you love? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Paul says…
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV
Showing love comes with transformation. Real love is seen when you become transformed by Jesus’ undeserving love working in you and through you showing love to others. Love comes in knowing Jesus is your Lord and obeying Him with your trust by faith. Love comes when we realize just who Jesus is and what He has done for us. When we truly understand and feel this within us, we will take hold of this love and want to share it with others. As followers of Jesus, we are not followers of certain persons, pastors or teachers.
Have you ever been around someone who is passionate about Jesus but end up doing more harm to the Gospel than good? I have and I know you have too. Why is that? Why does their passion make some want to turn away from Jesus? Proverbs 19:2 ESV has the answer, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” We are being told that we need to grow in knowledge as well. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
As we grow in the knowledge of the Word we also must take the time to learn someone before we try to “saving” them. Everyone receives love differently. We have to take the time to sit, observe and study someone before we can show the love of Jesus. Our job is to love and be an example of Jesus working in our lives ~ it is God’s job to save them.
So what does love look like? I believe that it can be summed up in two words, selflessness and forgiveness. Isn’t that the whole point of Jesus coming and his resurrection? Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13 ESV
The struggle is how to be selflessness and forgive others. Even Paul struggled with this, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV
So what does it mean to be selfless? To be selfless is to be concerned exclusively with others; seeking, concentrating on other’s advantages, pleasures and well-being without regarding ourselves. Now it’s time to dig deep… we are humans after all. It’s do easy to get caught up in “me” that some times we neglect others. I’ve done it and you do it. How do we go from being self-centered to others-centered? By studying the Word, praying for guidance, and obeying His word. The more knowledge we gain, the more we put that knowledge into action the more we can walk as Jesus walked.
So how can we forgive others? First we have to remember we too are sinners. As we accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf so so we must on the behalf of others too. I realize that seems so difficult, I know it does, but it something He commands us to do. It’s not an option.
Paul tells us, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-13 ESV
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows of God.” 1 John 4:7 ESV