Love Like Jesus

Posted: November 22, 2015 in John, Uncategorized

John 15:9-17, “Love Like Jesus”

There’s a great line from the movie “The Princess Bride.”  The character Vizzini is amazed that the mysterious man in black is able to follow him, no matter the obstacles & keeps calling it “Inconceivable!”  Finally, Inigo Montoya famously replies: “You keep saying that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  Considering the way so many people treat the word “love,” Inigo Montoya might say the same thing to us.  We “love” our clothes, car, phones, our food, or whatever.  High schoolers “love” their boyfriends or girlfriends one week, and then “love” someone else the next.  (Some adults treat their marriages the same way!)  We love our pets & we love our families…  And with all of that, in the same breath, we say we “love” God.  With all of that, do we even know what the love of God truly is?  Some people today even throw around the love of God like a club – “If you truly loved like Jesus did, then you’d do ­­­­____."  As if it’s OK to be unloving in the way we tell someone they themselves are being unloving.  How do we sort through all of this?

Thankfully, Jesus does it for us.  He tells us what His command is for us (to love), and He tells us how to go about it (like He did).  Keep in mind that not much of this is new.  Much of what Jesus teaches in 15:9-17 is what Jesus has taught throughout the night with His disciples.  Ever since the group gathered together to celebrate the Passover, Jesus has been teaching them of His love for them, His desire for them to do the same, and the power He’d give them to do so.

Here, He does the same thing.  He just introduced the final great “I AM” statement found in the gospel of John: “I am the true vine.”  The whole metaphor spoke of our dependency upon Jesus.  We find our life in Christ, and we bear fruit because of Christ, all for the glory of God.  Without Him, we can do nothing, but in Him we can do anything.  Included in that is to love.  Specifically, it is to love like Jesus loved.  This is His true commandment to us, and this is exactly what He equips us to do as we abide in Him.  This is love (true love!)…to love like Jesus.

John 15:9–17

  • Abiding in love

9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

  • This is one of those statements that would be so easy to read quickly as we’re moving to other verses, and totally miss the gem of what it is Jesus says.  The overall point Jesus is making in this section of Scripture is that we need to love others like He loves us, so it’s imperative that we stay in Jesus by staying in His love.  That’s the big picture, but there’s much that surrounds it.  First is the depth of His love.  How much does Jesus love us?  More than we can imagine.  More than is possible to describe in terms of human relationships.  Even in the terms between husband & wife, or between parent & child, human love falls short of the real extent of Jesus’ love for us. The only possible comparison that can be made in regards to the love of Christ for us is the love that God the Father has for God the Son.  It’s extreme love – superlative love – love to infinity & beyond.  [Guess how much I love you?  I love you to the moon & back…] 
  • Let’s consider that for a moment.  Jesus loves us like the Father loves Him.  How does the Father love the Son?  Infinitely!
    • From eternity past.  The Father has always loved the Son, because they have always been in eternal relationship together.  We have not always existed, but we have always been in the mind of Christ.  God has loved us from before the foundation of the world.
    • Into eternity future.  The Father will never stop loving the Son.  Even while Jesus bore the sins of mankind upon His shoulders on the cross, God never stopped loving Him.  Yes, God forsook Jesus for a moment & poured His wrath on Him, but He has always loved Him & will always love Him.  Likewise, there will never come a moment when Jesus stops loving us.  He loved us enough to go to the cross for us, and will continue to love us in eternity when He brings us to be with Him where He is.
    • There is no end of the love of God for His Son.  We can truly say that the Father perfectly loves the Son…and thus Jesus perfectly loves us.  Christian, can there be any news greater than this?  You are beloved by God the Son & thus God the Father.  You have always been loved by Him.  Even before you knew Him & loved Him, He loved you first.  To the disciples, Jesus spoke in the basic equivalent of the past tense.  This was before He went to the cross, and already He loved His disciples.  The cross was simply the demonstration of His love for them that already existed.  Jesus has always loved you.  And He has loved us beyond what we can conceive! 
  • With that kind of love in mind, now what?  Abide in that love.  Stay / dwell in that love.  Abide in Jesus and the love He has for you.  Just as Jesus told the disciples to abide in Him as branches abide in the vine, so are we to abide in the love of Christ.  Love is our home – it is our dwelling place.  That is how we are to be known as Christians.  It’s simply where we live.
    • What more could we possibly want than the love of Christ?  What can the world offer us in comparison?  Sinful temptations seem so trite and pathetic in comparison with the love of Jesus for us.  Yet we go to those things so quickly.  Why?  Perhaps because we’ve temporarily lost sight of the grandness of the love of Jesus.  May God help us understand!  Ephesians 3:17–19, "(17) that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—(19) to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."  Amen!
  • So we know it’s important to abide in the love of Christ.  But how?  Jesus tells us in vs. 10…

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

  • How to abide in love?  Obey Jesus.  Keep His commandments.  Objection: “Isn’t that legalism?  All of a sudden we’re supposed to obey?  Whatever happened to grace?”  This IS grace!  There’s no legalism in this.  After all, Jesus is inviting us to abide in His love.  He’s not commanding something awful.  He’s not telling us to climb to the top of Mt. Everest, or to walk across broken glass, or to do anything else to earn His love.  He’s telling us how we will abide in His love.  He’s telling us what naturally happens AS we abide in His love.  We abide in His love when we keep His commandments.  IOW, as we walk in obedience to Jesus, abiding His love is the natural outcome.
  • And what are His commandments?  (Note the plural…there isn’t only one.)  They are the same things He has been saying from the beginning.  First, is to love.  Remember that the Greatest of the Commandments is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  So we abide in the love of Christ by loving Christ.  (That works out pretty well!)  Second, the next greatest command is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Thus we abide in the love of Christ by loving others – the people in the world around us.  We share with a lost and dying world the compassionate message of the gospel & show them how they can be saved from the wrath to come.  And of course, it’s not only our worldly neighbors we love, but our brothers & sisters in Christ…which Jesus will address in a moment.  Third, we believe.  Jesus told the multitudes that the work of God is to believe in Him whom He sent (Jn 6:29).  We remain steadfast in our belief in Jesus Christ – we stay faithful in our faith.
    • Is there anything else?  No doubt we could look through the gospels with a fine tooth comb & list out every single imperative He gave to His disciples.  But more likely than not, everything else could fall into these categories.  How we deal with sin & temptation is wrapped up in how we love God.  How we shine as lights of the world is wrapped up in our love for others, etc.  Between our love for God, our love for others, and our steadfast faith in Christ, that pretty well sums up the commands of our Lord.
    • And again, this isn’t legalism.  To keep these commandments is joyful!  In fact, Jesus will go on to address this in the next verse.
  • Notice that Jesus doesn’t ask His disciples to do anything that He Himself did not do.  Jesus dwelled (abided) in the love of God the Father.  How so?  Through His own obedience to God.  Jesus is Himself fully God, but He did not exempt Himself from obedience to the Father.  He willingly humbled Himself unto God the Father, obeying everything the Father gave Him to do.  This was no burden for Him – this was no attempt from Jesus to try to earn the love of His Father.  Jesus was always loved by the Father, thus it is only natural that Jesus would joyfully walk in obedience to Him.  Likewise for us.
  • Commanded to love

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

  • Before Jesus gets to the actual command itself, He first gives the reason why He’s saying any of this in the first place.  This is a purpose statement – not only for this particular section of Scripture, but for all of the Upper Room Discourse.  Why has Jesus been telling the disciples these things all night long?  Because He wants them to have joy.
  • Joy?!  Jesus is about to go to His suffering at the cross – Peter is about to deny knowing his Lord – all of the disciples are about to be confused, and there is going to come a time that Jesus is physically no longer with them at all, and yet He has told these things to them for them to have joy?  Yes!  Back at 14:1, Jesus told them explicitly that He did not want them to be troubled, but He doesn’t stop with a lack of trouble.  He wants them to know the fullness of His joy.  Completed joy – joy without lack – joy that is overflowing…real joy.
  • This is what abiding in Christ leads to.  This is what happens when we obey Jesus, keeping His commandments.  This is what happens when we remain in His love.  When we do, we experience the fullness of God’s joy.  This isn’t the “paint a smile on your face and pretend everything is OK” sort of fake-joy.  This isn’t the “name it and claim it, it’ll come true if you believe it hard enough” sort of forced-joy.  This is the “joy that can only come from God, no matter what our circumstances might be” sort of sincere joy.  This is the stuff the world promises, but never delivers.  This is the stuff everyone seeks after, but has such a hard time finding.  This is true peace…real joy.
  • Guess what?  Jesus wants you to be joyful!  This is one of the major reasons Jesus was telling the disciples all of these things.  He wanted them to have joy.  He wanted them to remain in everlasting, completed joy.  His desire for them is His desire for us.  He wants us to have joy!
    • We might hear those words and hesitate a bit.  After all, it sounds too close to the TV preachers who proclaim health, wealth, and happiness, and we know that God doesn’t always give perfect health, massive riches, and a complete avoidance of sadness and trials.  The book of Job gives testimony to that fact, as do the lives of the apostles, our personal experiences, and the promises of Jesus Himself (something which He’ll teach a bit later that very night).  Yet God does give joy.  God doesn’t promise us freedom from trials, but nowhere does God mandate that we need to be miserable in the midst of them.  We can know true peace – we can know true joy even on our worst days.  This is something that God promises His children.  This is something Jesus wants us to have.
  • So how does that joy come?  By abiding in Christ – abiding in His love – keeping His commandments.  And what is at least one of His commandments?  To love.  Vs. 12…

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

  • Obviously this isn’t new.  This is the same thing Jesus has been telling the disciples all night long.  Throughout Ch 14, Jesus spoke of the need to love Him by keeping His commandments (something He’s already repeated in this section) – but it went even earlier than that this evening.  After the Passover Supper ended, Jesus gave them an example of His love when He washed the disciples’ feet.  When Judas left in order to betray Jesus, Jesus told the disciples of what He called the “New Commandment,” which was exactly this.  John 13:34–35, "(34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (35) By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”"  This is exactly what Jesus says here again in 15:12 (and will repeat in 15:17).  The need to love is imperative.  It is essential to what it means to walk as a disciple of Jesus.  It’s the outward sign that we are indeed disciples of Jesus.  Even the pagan world around us understands that followers of Jesus are supposed to love one another, and the way we love one another is evidence to them that we either take our faith seriously, or we don’t.
  • In 13:34, Jesus called this a “new” commandment, whereas in 15:12 He doesn’t.  Of course even the idea that true worshippers of God Almighty are supposed to love isn’t really new.  The entirety of the Old Testament law can be summed up in two commandments: to love God & love others.  This was known to the Jews of the day (Lk 10:27), and was emphasized by Jesus earlier in His ministry (Mt 22:37).  What made it new this night was the example and standard of love.  Both in 13:34 & 15:21, Jesus describes the standard of love: “as I have loved you.” What’s the standard of true Christian love?  Jesus Himself.  He set the example.  He is deserving of all glory in heaven and earth, and yet He temporarily laid His glory aside to come and dwell among us as God Incarnate.  (That’s what we remember as we enter the Christmas season.)  Not only did He give up heavenly glory, He gave up earthly comfort.  Jesus did not come as a wealthy king or landowner.  He walked in humble poverty, with the singular purpose of entering into His suffering and death on the cross.  In His own words, Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45).  This is how Jesus loved them, and this is how they were to love one another.
  • What exactly does that look like for us?  Sacrifice.  That’s the point of 15:13.  Just in case anyone missed what Jesus meant by loving one another as He loved them, He spells it out.  He was about to lay down His life for them; they were to lay down their lives for one another.  This made such an impact upon the apostle John that he couldn’t stop writing about it.  He’s known as the “apostle of love,” and kept telling his own congregation members & other Christians about the command of Christ.  He wrote that the message that we heard from the beginning is that we should love one another (1 Jn 3:11).  We know we have received life when we love the brethren (1 Jn 3:14).  1 John 3:16, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."  (And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!)  Notice the emphasis for other believers in Jesus.  Yes, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and one of the best ways to love them is to share the gospel with them, so that they might be saved.  But the New Commandment of Christ speaks of something a bit different.  The emphasis here (and repeated by John in his epistle) is the love that Christians are supposed to have for other Christians.  We are to love “one another,” or “the brethren,” with the love which with Jesus loved us.  Keep in mind that’s not a bad thing; it just shows priority.  Just like we love our own families with closer attention than we love strangers, so we are to love our brothers & sisters in Christ in a special way. … How do we do it?  By laying down our lives.  Going to the furthest extent possible.  Jesus loved us to the greatest extent when He died upon the cross for us – that’s the standard.  When someone gives his/her life for another, there is no doubt of the love the person had.  When a soldier lays down his/her life for the soldier by his side (or even for his country), there’s no doubt of the soldier’s love for either.  When we lay down our lives for one another within the church, there’s no doubt that we love the church as Jesus did.
    • Specifically, what does it look like?  It looks like the person who gives freely of his time to a guy who desperately needs counsel.  It looks like the older woman coming alongside the younger woman to mentor her.  It looks like the person who buys groceries for his/her hungry neighbor – or the guy who does yardwork for the family who can no longer do it for themselves.  It looks like the people who serve faithfully in children’s ministry because they understand those kids need to understand God’s word.  It looks like the person who determines to forgive his brother or sister simply because he was forgiven.  It looks like the person who refuses to be offended in the first place because she understands that the other didn’t know what he/she was doing.  Sacrificial love can take all kinds of forms.  In all cases, it means laying down our other priorities and desires because the most important priority is to glorify God – especially in how we treat one another.
    • Is it easy?  No.  Sacrifice never is.  Jesus never promised that love would be easy, but He did say it was necessary.  Where so many people run into problems is that they believe love is always going to be easy.  This is one reason why so many marriages fail.  They think love is supposed to be easy, and give up far too quickly when things inevitably get difficult.  True love involves sacrifice.  Was it easy for Jesus to die upon the cross for us?  Obviously not.  Why would we think it’d be easy for us?
    • It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile.  Jesus didn’t lay down His life for us in love because it was a waste of time.  He thought us worth it because our salvation magnifies the glory of God.  So does every act of love we pour out on others.  When Christians love like Christ, God receives the glory.  So let us glorify the Lord!
  • Please don’t miss the gospel in this!  That Jesus lays down His life for us is at the core of our faith.  Because Jesus is God who died for the sins we committed, and rose from the grave in new resurrected life, now all the world can be saved.  This act of love IS the good news of the gospel!  This act of love is THE reason Jesus came.  This act of love is what purchased our salvation and what ultimately rights every wrong in the world since the Garden of Eden.  Truly the love of Christ is a powerful thing! 
    • BTW – Some people wonder whether or not God really loves them.  You never have to wonder.  Just look to the cross!  (Rom 5:8)
  • Friendship with Christ

14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

  • This is a bit of an aside from Jesus’ main point, but it’s still related.  Within the commandment to love one another, the standard was to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  Here, it’s as if Jesus says, “By the way, you are all My friends.”  How could they know?  After all, it’d be an easy platitude to say – many politicians today call their constituents “friends,” but they don’t really mean it.  Jesus actually offered evidence that His disciples were His friends.  How so?  He told them His plans.  He informed them of the things He heard from God the Father.  This is different than how someone would treat a servant (or more accurately, a “slave”).  Slaves aren’t told by their masters what their masters are doing.  They are just given commands & expected to obey.  Friends, on the other hand, are informed on what is being done.  [God & Abraham, Genesis 18]  For the disciples, this was true in both their present & in the ultimate future.  In the present time, Jesus was currently letting them know what was going on: He was leaving to go to the cross – He would be rising from the grave – He promised to return to them – He promised to send the helping Holy Spirit, etc.  But it was also ultimately true in the future.  Jesus would share with them the most intimate aspects of the plans of God when He gave them His word.  The Bible reveals to us the things of God – these things are what Jesus shared with His disciples now & what the Holy Spirit would inspire them to write later.
    • What the disciples were given, we have also received.  Thus you are a friend of God!  The moment you turned away from your sins & put your faith in Jesus as Lord, God the Holy Spirit gave you a new birth, a new life, and something else…a new mind.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians telling them they were able to understand spiritual things because they had received the Holy Spirit & now they had the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:13-16).  Prior to receiving Jesus as our Lord, we couldn’t understand the things of God – but now we can & do.  This is true friendship with God.
  • Be careful not to take this where the Bible does not.  Yes, Jesus calls His disciples (and us) His friends.  It’s true that He says that He no longer calls them slaves & servants.  That that doesn’t mean that they (or we) stop being His slaves & servants.  After all, even in 15:20 Jesus uses the term again in regards to His disciples.  They (and we) will always be slaves of the most high God, by virtue of the fact that He IS God.  He has bought us with the blood of His Son, and we will always be His servants.  But we are more than slaves & servants.  We are also His friends & His children.  Is it unique?  Yes – but it’s also wonderful.
  • Of course that’s not all Jesus says about friendship with Him.  Back in vs. 14: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”  Not everyone who claims to be a friend of Jesus actually IS a friend of Jesus.  True friendship is going to be obvious.  Someone who claims to be your friend isn’t going to turn around and stab you in the back.  The way they treat you will be evidence of your friendship.  Likewise with Jesus. The evidence of our friendship with Jesus is our obedience to Him.  Remember we have a unique relationship: He is both our friend AND our King.  Thus we love Him AND we obey Him.  The two go hand-in-hand.  As we saw earlier in the Upper Room Discourse, if we truly love Jesus, we will want to serve Him & obey Him.  It isn’t how we earn our friendship with Jesus, but it is evidence of it.
  • What happens when we obey Jesus by abiding in His love – by loving others as He loved us?  We bear fruit.  And that’s exactly what He desires for us.  Vs. 16…
  • Fruit through love

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

  • We’ve been chosen by Jesus to bear fruit.  We’ll look at the aspect of choosing in a moment – but don’t miss the big picture.  Back in vss. 1-8, Jesus gave the metaphor of Him being the vine & His disciples being in the branches.  As the branches, they were to abide in Christ the vine, drawing life from the vine.  Why?  To bear fruit.  6 times in that passage, Jesus spoke of bearing fruit.  Fruit is evidence of remaining in the vine – it’s something that comes naturally for the branch.  The branch doesn’t have to work to produce the fruit; it comes simply because the branch is connected to the vine.  Here, Jesus hearkens back to that idea.  Why love?  Why obey?  What’s the point of these things?  It’s because Jesus desires for us to bear fruit.  God not only wants us to be joyful; He wants us to be fruitful.
  • What is the fruit?  It’s the same thing that Jesus has been talking about this entire time: love.  Disciples are to abide in love, to love others, and to produce the love of Christ in their lives.  This is life transformation.  This is us becoming more & more the men & women God desires us to be.  This is our character being molded & shaped into the image of Christ.  Practically speaking, this looks like us sacrificially laying down our lives for one another in the Church – it’s us looking upon the lost world with compassion, and both demonstrating and declaring God’s love for them in the gospel – it’s us walking in joyful obedience to the things Jesus has commanded us, etc.  The fruit God desires us to produce isn’t just one thing…it’s all of these things.  Remember that no grape-producer wants a vine to bear a single grape; he wants a bunch (in fact, he wants a bunch of bunches!).  God wants us to “bear much fruit” (15:8) – He wants us to be abundantly fruitful.
  • So how is it that we bear fruit?  It comes through our abiding in Christ (and thus abiding in His love), but ultimately it’s more foundational than that.  It comes because this is the choice of God.  To the disciples, Jesus reminds them how it wasn’t the disciples who came to Jesus asking to be made disciples; Jesus is the one who called to each of them “Follow Me.”  He’s the one who went up on a mountain to pray, and then called the 12 as disciples, specifically apart from the rest of the crowds.  Jesus had a plan in His choosing, and each of the remaining 11 would go and bear fruit that would last.  Ultimately, they would lay the foundation of the church Jesus would build, and truly that fruit has lasted until this day (and will continue to last into eternity!).
  • Of course, there are spiritual principles at work here as well.  Jesus specifically chose the 12 as His apostles, but the same could be said of the rest of us as His followers.
    • Jesus chose us.  He knew us, and chose us to receive the free gift of His salvation.  Does that contradict our freewill in asking to be saved?  Not according to the Bible.  Does it mean that the salvation of Jesus isn’t available to all the world?  Again, not according to the Bible.  It may be a mystery how it all works together, but there can be no doubt that Jesus did actively exercise His sovereign choice in making us His disciples.  That’s not something to fret over; that’s something in which we can rejoice!  If you’re a Christian, God chose you.  Amazing!
    • Jesus chose us to bear fruit.  He didn’t save us so that we could sit around.  Jesus doesn’t want spiritual couch potatoes; He wants fruitful disciples.  He saved us for a purpose: so that we could glorify God, being used by Him as we abide in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Thus, Jesus has a plan for you – we are to be active participants.
    • Jesus chose us to bear enduring fruit.  One of the troubles with physical fruit is that it so quickly decays.  We barely get bananas home from the grocery store before they begin turning brown.  Yet the fruit that Jesus produces in & through us will last – it will “remain.”  The word “remain” is the same root word Jesus has used throughout this passage for “abide” or “dwell.”  Thus how long will the fruit of discipleship last?  Into eternity!
  • Keep in mind this is something we can ask for.  In fact, we should ask for it!  Jesus speaks of it in the context of prayer, repeating for the 3rd time during the Upper Room of the promise that God will give to the disciples whatever it is they ask for in His name.  Think about it this way: one prayer that is absolutely guaranteed to be answered is our prayer to God that we might bear fruit.  Are you having trouble loving others?  Ask God in prayer & He will help.  Do you help forgiving?  Ask.  Do you need courage in sharing your faith?  Ask.  These are all things we can ask for in prayer – these are all ways we can be fruitful for Christ – there are all things that God specifically desires to do in our lives.  He wants us to be fruitful, and He will most certainly help us be so.  So ask!
    • Too many times, too many Christians walk around as if we’re helpless to do anything but be the way we are.  Not so!  God is truly available to us as a Father is to His children.  All we need to do is ask.

17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

  • To sum it up: love one another.  It’s the third time Jesus has given the commandment, which ought to underscore its importance.  When God says anything once, it’s important.  To repeat it two more times makes it essential!  Love one another.  Sacrifice for one another – lay down your lives for one another – love one another as Jesus has loved us.  This is His commandment – this is our duty – this is our joy.
  • Not only does the repetition emphasize importance, it also demonstrates our negligence.  Why does Jesus say it so many times?  Because we need it said!  When offenses come, it’s rare that our first response is to love the person who offended us.  Usually, it’s to raise up our self-defenses & respond in like manner.  That’s not the way it’s supposed to be!  We are to love.
    • When it’s hardest to love is often when it’s most necessary.  Think for a moment of the people in your life.  Who do you have the most difficulty loving?  And yes, this includes other Christians.  If we’re being honest, sometimes it’s more difficult to love other Christians the way we ought, because we think they ought to know better.  And they should.  But so should we.  Love them.  Extend to them the grace that you want extended to you.  Sacrifice yourself for them the way you know that Jesus sacrificed His life for you.  That’s the love Jesus desires for all His followers.  That’s the love Jesus wants to develop within you.

Love!  This is our commandment: to love others as Jesus loved us.  To love like Jesus is to obey Jesus.  It’s to keep His commands & thus abide in Christ Himself.

Who is there in your life that needs to know the love of Jesus?  In what ways is God calling you to lay your own comforts aside in order to sacrifice for & love someone else?  The love of Jesus is not supposed to be theoretical in the life of a Christian; it’s supposed to be expressed.  May we be those who express & live out the love of Christ!  Where we lack knowledge as to how, ask.  Where we lack courage to follow-through, ask.  God desires that we be fruitful, and He will empower us to be so.  And as we act in love, it will be a joy.  There is no joy like that of knowing we are precisely in the will of God.  God wants you to experience that joy…and you will, when you love like Jesus.

Maybe today you’re reminded of some ways you’ve failed to demonstrate the love of Christ.  Ask for forgiveness & for another opportunity to do better.

Maybe today’s the day you need to first respond to the love of Christ.  God loves you, and His desire for you is to be saved & to be made His child through repentance & faith through Jesus.  And that can happen today, but you need to respond.


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