This is part two of a series that asks the question: how can we live a life on target for God? Luckily, God lays out a clear target for us: the Fruit of the Spirit. When these are flowing from our life we know we are hitting God’s desired target.
Love is a word that has been used so many times, in so many ways, that it has become virtually meaningless. We love pumpkin spice lattes, football teams, family, dogs, cats, etc. I have a teenager, so I am well aware of how the term “love” gets thrown around. Two teenagers lock eyes and are instantly in the deepest, greatest, and most powerful love…until next week. So, what does Paul mean when he lists love as one of the Fruit of the Spirit? What does Christ-like love look like?
Jesus commands His disciples to love more then he commands them to take any other action. In fact, one of the final things he taught before His crucifixion was the importance of love:
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:31-35
So, what does Jesus mean by love? This passage shows us three big things.
- Love is about actions that transform. Love is not simply a feeling. It requires that we act in ways that positively transform others. It means that we strive to make our spouse and children better. Love means that we aim to improve our neighbors, our co-workers, and our friends. Love is more than a feeling, it is a way of life. It is a life of serving and transforming others.
- Love is for everyone. Love is not reserved for only our closest family and friends. Jesus says that the world will know Him because they see our love. Elsewhere He informs us that the entire world is our neighbor, and thusly deserves our love. We our living on target for God when we love all people.
- Love is sacrificial. Jesus tells us that we should love as He has loved us. How has he loved us? In a word: sacrificially. Jesus sacrificed life in a perfect Heaven to be with us and for us. He sacrificed His life so that we may live eternally. Love is thusly sacrificial. It requires us to give of ourselves to transform others. Love is not easy, but it is powerful.