It feels so hard to love others sometimes, even when we deeply desire to.
My eyes were opened to this in my attempt to bring a meal to a family in need. However, the items I wanted were not at the store, and after a long day I felt discouraged.
My plans of delivering a healthy, thoughtful meal to this family felt wasted. I felt ineffective in accomplishing my task to show love.
I tried to come up with other ideas of things I could make or buy… but my discouragement led me to the conclusion that if I couldn’t love in the way I thought was best, what was the point of trying?
Somewhere, I had picked up the misconception that loving had to look a certain way, or I wasn’t loving well.
I had placed unrealistic expectations on myself. Thus, I felt inadequate in my ability to love.
But showing love should be built on a strong foundation in Jesus, and not in how we think it should look. The perspective of love in the world we live in is not accurate.
The reality is that we all have difficulty loving sometimes. The most important thing is that we strive to love in the context of how the bible tells us to, and are motivated by God’s agape love.
This requires that we crush our misconceptions on how we think love should be demonstrated. It can go hand and hand with hurt if we don’t.
Jesus never expected anything back when he loved. He simply did it.
Loving in the framework of God’s word is a must, so we don’t get hurt in our efforts.
The bible outlines many verses to help us do this; here are 3 “call to action” passages you can look to as a guide to love.
1. In Corinthians, Paul gives us specific instructions on what love looks like.
We read this in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV): “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
We can take these verses as directives, and live this way by yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s power.
We can meditate on each of these characteristics and pray for them to bear fruit in our lives.
Examine yourself, and reflect as to whether you’re loving in this manner daily.
2. Jesus calls us to love in a way of being selfless. It means that we aim to show his love at all times, and accomplish it by denying ourselves.
We read this in John 15:12-13 (NIV): “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
It’s not easy to be selfless at all times, but the more we choose to live in this way the more we can lay down our lives for others.
Selfishness only leads to satisfying the flesh, not walking in the spirit.
We should ask ourselves often: am I saying no to this because I am being selfish?
We have limits and need to respect them, of course. Self care is necessary… but we can be selfless when intentionally loving one another by listening and being present in that time.
3. The most important thing that we must do is love Jesus first and foremost.
This commandment is seen in Matthew 22:37 (NIV): “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
We must love him completely, with every breath we take.
When we love him, we will abide in him, and live the way he has called us to: by loving others. It becomes less a struggle and more a passion.
Loving him with our all requires that we surrender our heart to him completely and offer everything to him to remove the barriers in the way.
It’s completely being dependent on him daily, knowing he has got you.
He loved you first, allowing you to trust him to completely have you.
Relinquish control in all areas of your life to him to abide in him.
Let’s love well in the context of how God’s word tells us to. We can love others well and not get hurt trying to love in the ways we think are best. Jesus loves you so much.
Questions to ask yourself, to examine your motives in accepting a task in love:
- Am I obeying Jesus in taking on this task to love, or doing it because I think I should?
- Why do I want to do this task?
- Am I thinking about being rewarded, or just loving as Jesus does?