Monday, March 12, 2012

How To Love Like Jesus

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Although some instinct for loving seems to be biologically programmed, our primary source for learning love is by example. Instinct may draw us to love our children, but watching other mothers interacting with their offspring enables us to work out those instincts in practical ways.
Instinct is important; instruction is important. But it’s the repeated exposure to example that gives our love roots of stability and wings of action. Jesus knew this and more than once pointed followers to His own example of love. In fact, when it came to love, He not only led by example, He commanded that we follow His steps.
Hundreds of examples of Jesus’ love could be cited, but four particular samples have touched me during this study of John. He loved by humble service. He loved by holding a position of authority. He loved by sharing His heart. And, He loved by the example of proactive courage.
Attention is often given to the humble service Jesus showed when He took a basin and towel and washed the disciple’s feet. The moment of Him kneeling before Peter has been extolled through sculpture and pictures, songs and poetry. Every time Jesus spoke of doing the will of the Father, He was giving us an example of love’s humble service. He said the very reason He came was to do the will of His Father. [1] Forty-five times in the book of John, Jesus spoke of the Father’s will and most of those references were to His obedience and delight in doing it.
Yet, the humble service of love was not His only example. Jesus also demonstrated how to accept and use high position and authority. As soon as He completed the task of foot-washing, Jesus put back on His robe and sat at the most honored place of the table. He said, “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well for so I am.” [2] This, too, is an example of love. Love accepts the responsibility of rank without shirking its weight.
There was also a personal, tender side of His love. There was much within the heart of the Master that was beyond the capability of the disciples to understand. [3] But that didn’t stop Him from reaching out to share His heart. He spoke of His love, His sorrow, His frustration, His desires [4] and much, much more.
But perhaps the strongest, clearest, most consistent example He left of how love behaves was in the timing of it all. Love moves first, rather than waiting for the object of affection to move. He loved us from the foundation of the earth. He came to sacrifice for us before we cared about Him. We love, because He first loved us. [5]
One of the last commands Jesus gave was that we love one another and following His example, we are blessed with a very clear path.
[1] John 6:38 [2] John 13:13; John 17 [3] John 16:12 [4] John 15:12; Matthew 26:38; Luke 12:50 [5] I John 4:19

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