Learning To Love Like Jesus
Loving like Jesus is a principle that can change our life forever. What is it to love like Jesus? The highest expression of love, if you want to love like Jesus, is obedience to Jesus. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) He said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:12-15) Love is the greatest motivating force. The wrong kind of love motivates one toward wrong things. The right kind of loves blesses us and others. The wrong kind of love makes us un-God-like.
You cannot fully know and understand how to love others until you first understand the love Jesus has for you. The better you know Jesus and the closer your walk with Him the more loving you will be. Love is the greatest motivating force in life. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:8) We, as Christians, are to live peaceable with all mankind and we are to learn to love like Jesus. There is a love that is right, pure, good and holy. The right kind of love makes us like God. Let us observe both the wrong kind of love and the right kind of love.
The wrong kind of love:
The love of possessions is the wrong kind of love. The desire for riches leads to all kinds of evil. "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:9-10) Today's world still needs the warning of Luke 12:15. "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." The love of money will condemn many souls.
The love of praise is the wrong kind of love. Those who love the praise of men will never love God as they should. "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." (John 12:42-43) Those who seek to please men will never please God. "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10) Listen to Jesus, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)
The love of pleasure is the wrong kind of love. Many today love pleasure, entertainment or those things that excite. Moses chose God rather than the momentary pleasure of sin. "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." (Hebrews 11:25-26) I am not saying that all pleasure is sin but I am saying that it is just a momentary thing. Many spend more on pleasure than they every give to the cause of Christ. God is choked out of many lives because of the love of pleasure. "And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection." (Luke 8:14)
The love of preeminence is the wrong kind of love. The spirit of Diotrephes still lives. "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. " (3 John 1:9-10) There are still those who love to have the preeminence. And Jesus still says, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Galatians 6:3) The love of preeminence destroys the spirit of servanthood. The right kind of love makes us godly while the wrong kind of love makes us un-God-like. The right kind of love blesses while the wrong kind of love destroys.
The right kind of love:
The love for God is the right kind of love. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) God is our Creator, Sustainer and Ruler. Our love for God must be a sincere and obedient love. Nothing or no one is to be loved like we love God.
The love for our enemies is the right kind of love. "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) Even though someone may have treated us badly we are to love them. This love means compassion toward our enemies and also good will for them.
The love for our neighbor is the right kind of love. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39) Love for those seen makes possible love for God who is unseen. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20) Love for neighbor must be like our love for self. Love for neighbor must be true and sincere. "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10)
The love for family is the right kind of love. Husbands are taught to love their wives. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Ephesians 5:25) Women must learn to love their husbands and their children. The responsibility of older women is "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children." (Titus 2:4) Love is the bond of perfection needed in every home. "But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection." (Colossians 3:14)
Love is never wrong when we love God, love our enemies, love our neighbors, love our family, love our brethren and love the church for which Christ died. "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13) What a thrill when people learn to love like Jesus. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Life on earth is always better when learn to love like Jesus.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA