I have been thinking a lot about what should characterize someone who loves Jesus (because that’s how I would like to be known). With minimal digging it is fairly obvious. In John 13:34-35 Jesus says,“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.” Jesus was pretty straight forward. Proof of our love for God and Jesus is a life of love.
It sounds easy, but it’s obviously not. I am often focused on what’s going on in my life which tends to eliminate (or causes me to miss) opportunities to care for and love others. Selfishness seems to me to be the greatest barrier to really loving others.
Jesus told us to love others like he loved us. Let’s just think about that. Jesus took time to listen to those who needed an ear and provide physical healing to others. He looked at their heart to their true need and spoke to it. He did not look to see how others could benefit or serve him. He did not consider any task below his station. He gave freely of his time, energy and abilities. He did not retaliate when others mocked him and abused him. He continued to love people and even sought forgiveness on their behalf. And then he gave his life for those who loved him and those who despised him. He was the physical example for everything he asks us to be willing to do in the name of love.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:13-14
I think that if everyone focused their efforts on loving others, we would be so consumed with this task that there would be no room for anything else – no room for gossip, falsehood, betrayal or any other form of evil. I wonder what that would be like.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
I have decided (realized) that my life’s work should be accomplishing the above two commandments. I think if I can make headway into loving God with all I have and also loving others as I want to be loved I will probably manage to cover any other exhortation in the Bible. I may also actually begin to look a little more like someone who truly loves Jesus.
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Do you think that it is easy to love God and others? Are there obstacles you face to truly loving those in your life?