When Jesus told us to love others, He didn’t give us any exceptions. He didn’t say love them if they were kind. He didn’t say love those who agree with you, can return the favor, or add to your social status.
He simply said to love them.
Loving those who love us or are loveable? That’s easy–there is nothing supernatural required for that type of responsive love.
But loving those who are hard to love requires the supernatural power of God. We might appear loving for a time, but truly loving others, regardless of their merit or response, is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus told us to love others, He knew we would need to rely on the Spirit’s power and that reliance was essential to living in His Kingdom. The struggle to love which sometimes brings shame, should, instead remind us that we are not the source. Read that again: we are not the source for the love He calls us to. He is the source. As we move through the cycle of struggle and dependence, we are learning something that applies to every other area of our lives: To live God’s way requires God’s power. Love is one way we exercise the new Holy Spirit-led way of living.
When Jesus told us to love others, He knew this kind of love would need to be practiced.
My son has recently decided being strong is his top priority, but he doesn’t just sit on the couch and wish he’d get stronger. He has been at the gym, lifting weights, several times a week.
It’s interesting that we often don’t apply this same principle to the call and desire to love others: Sure, we want God to make us loving, but we resist exercising our new heart for others.
As we seek to love, we rely on the power God supplies and we exercise this new heart He’s given us.
When we ask God to “make us loving,” He doesn’t just make us loving, He gives us opportunities to grow more loving. He shows us people who love well and He also puts people in our path who are hard to love.
We don’t learn to love others by only being surrounded by lovable people. We learn to love in the boot camp of loving the unlovable. We also learn to love by being loved when we’re the unlovable.
When Jesus told us to love others, it must have been because He knows something about which we are just beginning to scratch the surface: When you and I love others, it not only changes them, it also changes us, because love changes people. We are changed because our quest to love others with this type of love shows us something about God we wouldn’t know otherwise.
When you and I love with no exceptions, relying on His power, when we struggle and need His help, we are not only showing others God’s heart, He is showing us the intricacies of His heart.
Love highlights and illustrates our supernatural God, who Himself is love.
What does His love look like? We’ll look at that next week for part 4 of our series. Join us!