“I love you” is so flippantly expressed these days. I’ve begun to wonder how much we really grasp its depth in relationship to Christ’s command to love? How many things in your life invalidate this command? Do you act out of love when you ignore the physical need of another, harbor resentment and un-forgiveness for the way another has treated you, conduct business against the best interests of the one receiving your services, or go to court to mitigate an area where you have been wronged? Your feelings and needs are valid, but are your responses guided in love?
Doing everything in love asks you to put others before yourself. This is not natural, convenient, or profitable, yet in John 13:34-35 Jesus defined a
new standard for living life, "A new command I give you: Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."(NIV) Love, not money, is our defining standard. Love, not your position in life, identifies you as a disciple of Christ. Love, not accomplishments, points others to Jesus. Your ability to live this way is dependent on the love of Jesus capturing your heart. The nature of this love is one that is not fickle or shallow; it is a love from Christ that is penetrating, self-sacrificing, and inexhaustible. It is a love that 2 Corinthians 5:14a says is captivating, “For Christ's love compels us.” (NIV) Do you live your life out of the center of God’s love, so that your actions are not controlled, directed, and influenced by the world, but instead by God’s exhilarating love? The secret of living in love is experiencing the expanse of God’s love in you. Your ease in loving others through kindness, service, and encouragement reflects a heart that is going deeper into the depths of God’s love. God’s love is not a catchy saying, but the living Christ pulsating through your heart. You love because God is love and His life is your life. Your lens of life is through the love of Jesus that sees the lost, forgives the oppressor, serves the difficult, and encourages the oppressed. When you allow God to be first in your life, you naturally place others’ interests before your own. This positions you to be a mighty instrument of God’s love.
Ephesians 3:17b-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV)
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Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Deeper With God” and “Satisfaction.”
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