Redefining Love

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35 ASV

Love is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. Our love should be the love of God and it should shine so brightly that when others look at us, they see Jesus Christ. But recognizing love has become so complicated because our world has redefined love. What is paraded before us as love is not God’s love at all.

Love today means “condone my sin, look out for my own best interest, make me feel good, give me an emotional high, tell me what I want to hear, never hold me accountable for my decisions, don’t ask me to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable or requires my effort. If you say or do anything that offends me, then you don’t love me.”

What is the common thread here? “ME.” It’s always about “me.” This isn’t love…This is self-centeredness which is ultimately the sin of pride. When we come to Christ, it’s no longer about us…It’s about HIM.

So, how can we know what love is? We need to look to God–the Creator of love, the epitome of love (1 John 4:8). What does He model for us? Let’s take a look at Him and see…

What do we see in Christ’s life on earth? Exactly the opposite of what we see in the definition of love today. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, holiness, selflessness…We see that everything Jesus Christ did was for others, not Himself. He healed them, He comforted them, He cried for them, He cried with them, He prayed for them. Our divine Savior gave up His comforts and took on the limitations of human flesh, took stripes upon His back and carried His own cross to a humiliating death orchestrated by those very ones He created, preserved, blessed, and came to save.

He did all those things, but you know what else He did? He did something that we see little of in our culture today. He told them them the truth. He didn’t tickle their ears and placate them. He loved so deeply that He was willing to tell people the truth even if they reviled and rejected Him.

When we let God’s love shine through us we will be more concerned about others than we are ourselves. We will do all the things that Jesus did and we will put others ahead of ourselves and that even means telling them the truth, sharing all of God’s Word…even if they reject us, even it is painful for them and painful for us. We should have the loving spirit of Jesus–not condemning, yet absolutely uncompromising.

Jesus Christ doesn’t compromise the truth because He loves, because He IS love.

And according to John 13:34, we should love that way, too.

So, let’s go shine His love. Let’s hate the evil that is behind people’s actions and words and let’s love them enough to give them grace and mercy and let’s love them enough to tell them the truth: that sin is real, Satan is real, but so is our amazing Father, God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ who bought us back from death and put us on the road to life–now and for eternity. Let’s tell them that they can accept the priceless gift that He is offering, if they want it. It is free, but it will cost them everything, yet it is worth even more.

” And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;  rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; ]beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Love never faileth:…” 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 ASV

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