Tuesday, February 20, 2007

LIVE LIVES OF LOVE

Ephesians 5:2

Paul says, “Imitate God and live lives of love.” Clearly, living a life of love is imitating God! Our lives are to be characterized by love. Do the people who know you think of you as a loving person? Every aspect of our lives is to be characterized by and saturated by love. Every relationship; family, friends, marriage, co-workers. Every situation; home, work, church, school, community. We are to demonstrate love in every circumstance; in joy or sorrow, trial or blessing, health or sickness. Are we the kind of people who are characterized by love? Or are we thought of as critical, judgmental, negative, superior, and self-righteous?

Paul goes on to describe what a life of love looks like. He says we are to love people “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Jesus is our model, our example. We are to imitate our older brother. Caleb is five and a half years younger than Aaron but that didn’t stop him from trying to imitate him. Caleb used to copy everything about Aaron and it used to drive Aaron nuts. Caleb tried to act like Aaron, talk like him, and dress like him! That used to concern me a little because Aaron wasn’t always the kind of example I wanted Caleb to follow! But God has given us the perfect big brother example in Jesus!

What kind of example did Jesus set for us? He loved us and gave himself up for us! He put our welfare before his comfort. He held back nothing that would benefit us. He sacrificed his own life so that we might live! Jesus’ love was unconditional. His love was not dependent on the love or kindness of others. He loved people who were difficult to love. I gave some thought to the kinds of people whom I have trouble loving. It is difficult for me to love people who do not hold up their end of a friendship. I have trouble loving people who are undependable, who let me down over and over again and are untrustworthy. It is hard for me to love people who are always thinking about themselves. I have a problem loving people who are “takers,” people who take and take and never seem to give anything back. Then I realized that Jesus surrounded himself with people like this! His friends deserted him in Gethsemane. They let him down over and over again and even denied him. When he spoke about his approaching death they argued about who would be first in his kingdom. He poured out his life for them and never received anything back from them. Jesus’ love is unconditional, and we are grateful for that! Our love is to be like his!

There is one more thing we need to notice about the love of Christ. His love was an act of worship. Paul describes his love like this: “…just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Jesus saw his love as an act of worship. Because of his great love for us he offered himself as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. This fragrant offering was pleasing and acceptable to God. We need to learn this truth. Living lives characterized by love requires us to offer ourselves and to make sacrifices. When we give of ourselves in love we are offering worship to God; worship that is fragrant and pleasing to God.

It is love that will make a difference in our world. Our love for one another in the Church is evidence to the world that we belong to Christ. Jesus said it himself, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34, 35). Nothing seizes the attention of the world more than selfless sacrifice and love. When we unconditionally love and accept the people in our world, in our sphere of influence, it speaks louder than any argument or effort at persuasion. It is an act of worship on our part.

3 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Jazzycat,

Thanks a lot for stopping by The Shilohguy! You can't imagine how encouraging it is to have someone new here! Again, thanks!

Dave

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger jazzycat said...

Dave,
Evidently you were able to read my comment but I never pushed the publish button as I was working with a couple of windows at once.

Anyway, I liked what you said over at the Moor and I have linked to you. I guess I am also probably amil, but that end times theology gets awfully complicated for me.

 
At 7:33 AM, Blogger bluecollar said...

This post was very convicting. Thanks for posting it. I saw all my sinful shortcomings here.

I shall link to you as well.

 

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