Love is Never Wasted

Be imitators of God as dearly loved children.

Love one another as I have loved you.

Build each other up. Encourage one another daily.

Don’t just look out for your own interests, look out for the interests of others.

Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the greatest commandment.

The words above are from the Bible. Many are from Jesus. I’d love to tell you that I always think love is a good idea. I don’t. Sometimes the logical response for me is to choose isolation from people and forgo loving anyone but God. As an introvert, loving people is sometimes exhausting. Sometimes, honestly, love feels like a waste of time. Just keeping it real…yet part of loving God is loving people, not just in word but through actions.

When you really love people, you are vulnerable to them. They have the power to hurt you in ways you never thought possible. Sometimes they do it and blame you. Sometimes they are ambivalent or indifferent. Sometimes people are cruel or unkind. Sometimes the people you’d give your life for are the ones nailing you to a rugged cross. My heart has some pretty interesting scars. 🙂

Guess what? No one bears more scars than Jesus. We cannot fully comprehend the pain our sins caused Him. He was marred beyond recognition. His friends denied Him, forsook Him, and betrayed Him. Love cost Jesus everything. He felt the weight, shame, and pain of every sin.

This same Jesus says to us, “Love as I love.” He gave us His Spirit to help us to love. He doesn’t ask us to do anything He has not done or will not empower us to do.

So what are we to do? Do we throw in the towel on this love thing?

We could, but we would be living a life in disobedience to God. God never gives us permission to stop loving people. He never gives us permission to hold grudges or withhold forgiveness. If we don’t forgive, we are not forgiven. God never stops loving. He said the world will know we are His by our love for one another. If we don’t love, we don’t know God.

You see the point of life is to be loved by God, love God, love people, do as Jesus does, & become like Him; not by striving, but by abiding in Him.

We are transformed by relationship with God. We are being transformed by what we love and worship. Hence God saying, “Love Me most! Love Me first. Have no other gods before Me!” We are slaves to who and what we worship and obey.

We are God’s Ambassadors on earth. We show and demonstrate to the world what He’s like.

Do you know anyone who reminds you of Jesus?

Do you know anyone who represents Him well?

Does the person you see in the mirror continue to grow into His likeness?

Sanctification (the process of growing more Christlike) is part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. We can quench Him, resist Him, ignore Him, and offend Him. Yet He’s trying to work in us so we represent the Father well and become our truest selves.

Our world needs Christians who look, behave, and sound like Jesus. They’ve heard our sermons and worship, listened to our political agenda, but have they encountered Jesus? Have they seen Christ in us?

I ask these questions of myself. Am I becoming more like Jesus or more selfish and like the world? Am I loving people or harming them? Am I giving/serving or asking to be served? Is my life a reflection of His love and power? When God reveals weaknesses (which I have plenty of), am I asking Him to help me or making excuses for them?

Lastly, though I feel it at times, love is never wasted. People are not our audience, judge, or jury. We love and live for an audience of One. Every person will give an account for their lives. We are called to care more about what God thinks than people’s responses to us or their opinions. It’s for His Glory, not our own.

May we choose love. May we abide in the One who is love so we have love to give away. May we be known for looking, acting, sounding, and behaving like Jesus. He said those who abide (remain) in Him will bear MUCH fruit (John 15:5). I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Jesus to love people, including myself. Without God I am nothing and have nothing.

Have a blessed week! Be a blessing to others. The world needs what you’re carrying…Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You’re in my thoughts and continual prayers…

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Learning to Love Like God (Part 1)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much,~Matthew 5:46.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”~John 13:34-35.

We love because he first loved us,~1 John 4:19.

Love is the highest calling for a believer. I talk about love quite a bit because God reveals the desperate need the world has for love. Addiction is a cry for comfort. Sexual promiscuity for attention and affection. Abuse for healing. Everywhere you look, people are trying to fill a God sized void with something. Drugs, food, tv, alcohol, sex, relationships, social media, and even church activities are often used to fill the void of love.

You and I are empowered to love. How? By the Holy Spirit. He is love. Sounds easy right? God in us loving people.

In order to love like God, we must first receive love from God. We cannot give away what we do not possess. That person who fails to love you mostly likely either doesn’t know how you perceive love, or they haven’t fully received God’s love.

Even after we receive God’s love, we can choose not to love other people. It’s a process of submitting to God, not relying on feelings, and dying to self.

I don’t always feel like loving people. Nope. Some days I grow tired of being kind to rude people. Some days I have to go straight to God with unpleasant feelings towards people. He reminds me of this, “Feelings are not an indication of truth. You can love this person because I love them.

How do we love like God?

We let God love us. Christianity is about relationship with God. Jesus paid for us to have full access to the Father.

Take time to just be with God. It can be journaling, reading, praying & listening, time in His Word, worship, etc…asking God to reveal His love on the heart level. It will then pour out on to others. God fills to overflowing. Part of it is faith as well; believing what God says about His love for us is true.

We forgive. Gosh, I don’t mind forgiving (surrendering a person to God and refusing to avenge). It’s far more difficult to reconcile and restore a relationship when someone has betrayed your trust, treated your heart like a punching bag, or just failed to be good to you. In those moments I’m reminded of these things…

1. What is God’s purpose for the relationship? Is it covenant? Will restoring the relationship be safe?

If someone is stealing from your bank account, love sets boundaries (change the info, block the person). If a person is not trustworthy, don’t confide in them. If someone is controlling and manipulative, limit the access they have to you. If someone is abusing you in any way, seek help. Forgiving does not mean you must remain in the same condition or immediately give someone your trust. We are responsible for who and what we allow into our lives.

If it’s a covenant relationship or one God is calling us to, we are to do our best to work it out (we will discuss more in a different post on covenant).

2. How does God treat me when I fail?

We are humans. We will blow it. God is so merciful and kind to me when I mess up. I am called to be merciful.

Unlike God, we can be severely damaged by others. Mercy doesn’t mean let someone continually, purposefully hurt or abuse you. Our role is to point people to Christ. It’s unloving to allow someone to continue to sin against us and not offer loving correction. We want people right with God. It does mean we offer grace, compassion, and mercy. Mercy may be refraining from gossip (which is so damaging). The person did you wrong, protect their name. Treat them better than they did you.

Lastly I will say love will cost you greatly. God has blessed me with years of experience loving people who did not in any way love, honor, or respect me. He gave me someone similar to Saul (4 years-40 hours a week. Not sure how I didn’t lose my mind), a few who behaved like Judas, and allowed people in my life who at times made me want to never love again. I’ve had to love people who have tried to take my life. I can say love doesn’t always feel good. I’m certain the experiences Jesus endured were not pleasant. They were excruciating. He suffered greatly. Yet, He did it for love.

Whatever love costs you, please know genuine love glorifies God. The world needs to see genuine, agape love through us. We may not know until heaven the impact we made in someone’s life. Though it may be painful at times, choose love!

You’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Father reduce us to love. Help us to love like You. Remove worldly views of love and replace them with Yours. Help us to see people as You do, and love them as You do. In Jesus name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin