What does it mean to love like Jesus Christ? How does this compare to what we learn and see about love in today’s world?
These are questions I’ve asked myself a few times and you probably have, as well. I know I want to learn how to love like Jesus Christ but many times I feel confused as to how this works in practice.
It all boils down to how we can love and also live life successfully.
The Love Revelation
I remember the first time I read 1 Corinthians 13, It felt like a gazillion light bulbs were going up in my head.This is, of course, the famous and often repeated chapter about love.
It turned around many things I knew about love. It really showed how self-sacrificial love is and the fact that you do not need all that pump and bass (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Before we look at this Bible passage, I will like us to consider these two ways of understanding love:
- Love the way the world defines it
- How to love like Jesus intended
Love the way the world defines it
When we consider the place of love in today’s world, some of the words you will often hear are passion, attraction, reciprocity, longing, and even lust.
Attraction is defined as a “feeling that makes someone romantically or sexually interested in another person”.
Passion is the “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction for someone”.
(all from Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
These words point to one thing: self-exultation. They are more about us than the persons we are claiming to love, about our thinking, our feelings and our actions.
Maybe, this is why we hear people say they broke up or got a divorce because they didn’t love the other person anymore. You know what I think happened? They didn’t fall out of love, they probably lost the attraction, passion and longing they once had and these feelings are about us (expressions) rather than the other person and can be fleeting. Once these feelings are no longer there, it automatically means the “love” is gone.
For the world, it seemed like love was more about how the person makes us feel.
For the world, love is about how the person makes us feel, which breeds selfishness and unforgiveness.
The Love Process in Relationships
I know a few friends who have told me that love is a decision. I liked this definition as it was a change from my general perception of love as an emotion.
But when I ruminated on this definition, I finally agreed that while love is a decision, many times it starts as an emotion.
I actually had a three step process for love and this is particularly applicable for married couples:
Emotion – Decision – Obligation
This shows that love starts out as an emotion, examples are a mother and her newbornn baby or newly wed couples.
As you mature in the relationship, it becomes a decision. You decide to love the person notwithstanding what happens and finally as an obligation, where due to the time and actions invested in your decision, you can no longer let it go.
While my observations and analysis about love may be helpful to some, it is more important that they are in line with God’s word.
How to Love like Jesus Christ intended
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul showed us the more excellent way – love like Christ intended it.
It showed that the principles of love remain constant no matter what sort of relationship we are in. Whether between a father and a daughter, a brother and sister, a friend, a colleague or a husband and wife. We are called to love like this:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love dose not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
These are wonderful and uplifting words but are really a tall order. To bear all things and never be provoked? I pray for the grace and strength to live this out daily.
One thing is clear. With love, it’s not just about us, it’s about the other person. It’s not about reciprocity or setting conditions but about kindness, about forgiveness, about humility and thoughtfulness.
When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus told them that they had to do these:
- Love God with all their heart, soul and mind
- love their neighbour as themselves.
Our call to love is the most important aspect of our heritage as Christians as love covers a multitude of sins and brings us closer to God.
It is through love we grow in patience, understanding, forgiveness and strength.
How to love like Jesus, every day of our lives
My dear sister, are you ready to love even when it hurts, and you don’t feel appreciated? I know I am but I also accept that it will not be easy. There will be days when we won’t feel like being the ‘bigger’ person. When we will feel like we have accepted too much pain and suffering.
But God is faithful, he will not leave us to contend without giving us the strength to overcome.
Could you say this prayer with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me to love like you. May I learn to be more like Jesus every single day of my life, believing that in him and through him, I can do all things.
How has your journey to love been? Please share in the comments
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