Love is never as easy as it sounds.
Love is more than just feelings. It’s more than just affection and simply seeing the good in other people…
Love is more than being “nice.” If God commanded us only to be nice to our neighbor, I imagine that we would do just fine. Most people really are nice people. It’s not that hard to smile and be polite to others; to say “please” and “thank-you…” But God commands more of us than just being “nice.” Being “nice” to others is just the beginning.
God’s love for us goes beyond affection; it goes beyond simple acts of kindness…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” God saw that we were slaves to sin. God saw that we were destined to die in our sin and be forever lost. So God intervened. We needed forgiveness, we needed redemption, we needed life—so God took those needs upon himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
And God still takes our needs to heart. God hears the groaning and cries of every human being—even those who do not know God. Because God loves—God is not silent; God is not unmoved while people are in need. God comes to us to minister to us in the times of our greatest need. That is what love is. And it is God’s amazing love for us that empowers us to love others. God makes us loving persons by loving us and caring for us.
Love is nothing less than caring for others’ needs in the same way that Jesus cares for your needs. Living in love means that the needs of others have equal priority to our needs.
We can’t live in love and always be looking out for number one. Love never asks “what’s in it for me?” The question that love asks is “what does my neighbor need that I can give?”
Love is a commitment to care for others’ needs—and as a commitment, love makes great demands of us.
God commands us to love others even when our time, energy, and money are scarce…
God commands us to love others even when we have no guarantees that we’ll be loved in return…
God commands us to love others even when it means that we have to face people and situations that make us uncomfortable…
And finally, as our first lesson from Leviticus teaches us, we cannot live in love while taking vengeance or bearing grudges. Love requires that we be gentle in confronting those who sin against us. We must forgive and work towards reconciliation. Love doesn’t mean that we have to feel affection for our enemies—but we still must care for their needs.
All told, love is never the path of least resistance. Love will always ask something of us. But we give and we share out of the abundance that God has given us. God doesn’t want us to give away all our food and starve. God’s love assures us that we can be generous and our own needs will still be met. With Christ in our lives, there is always something to be shared. In Christ, we have the assurance that our deeds of love are never done in vain.
And ultimately, living a life of love will benefit us. It is God’s grace and love that heals this world. So when you live in love, God’s awesome power is at work in you. Your life will take on a whole new meaning. Your greatest treasures will no longer be the things you keep to yourself, but the gifts that you share.
And as you live of a life of love, God has this promise for you: God loves you and cares for you every step of the way. For in the same way that God sends you to care for others—God is sending others to care for you. Your cup of blessings will be to the full.
Every so often, people will ask me if I believe in angels. When they speak of angels, they are speaking of divine beings sent by God to care for us. Many persons believe in angels, many do not.
But God’s love makes us all as angels who care for others in their time of need. What an awesome way to live. What an awesome way for us all to experience a little bit of heaven on earth. What an awesome way for people to know that Jesus Christ is for real—as God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.