“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3
As I have become increasingly more captivated by the heart of Christ, I’ve also become more captivated by the ways of Christ. As I have spent more time in the Word, I’ve taken the time to study the demeanor and posture of Jesus in His interactions with others during the time He walked the earth. While there are so many things about the character of Christ that we can draw from, more than anything we see time and time again in the scriptures of how Jesus loved others. More than He taught, more than He corrected, more than He performed miracles- Jesus led with love. And as children of God and disciples of Christ, our ultimate aim should be to be more like Him, meaning that leading with love should also be our ultimate aim.
In Mark 12: 29-31 Jesus gives the following command: “29 Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these…”
You see, loving our neighbors is not a suggestion nor a recommendation, it is a command that is second only to loving the Lord. This means we should value it as much as God does and enact love in every interaction and encounter we have. Who better than Jesus himself to serve as our role model in this area? What better place to see the love of Jesus at work and build a foundational understanding of what Biblical love is than in the Bible?
Why do we love? Because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19). Who do we love? Our neighbors- those around us (Mark 12:31). What is love? 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 (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). How can we go about loving others? Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).
In Jesus and the Word of God, we have the most perfect template for how to love others. But what does that look like in our everyday lives? It looks like kindness. It looks like patience. It looks like generosity. It looks like humility. It looks like forgiveness. It looks like being quick to listen and slow to speak. It looks like being slow to anger. It looks like walking through the hardships of life with people. It looks like giving grace and extending mercy to undeserving people.
This is the character that illuminates Christ. This is the heart that attracts the lost. This is the posture that leads people to Christ. When it comes to the world, our love will speak louder than anything- louder than a church invite, louder than a sermon, louder than a lecture. People will be curious about our kindness. People will be intrigued by our humility. People will be drawn by our generosity. The mark of being disciples of Jesus is our love for one another (John 13:35).
Is it easy- not always. But it’s always worth it. Look at how powerful God’s love has been in our lives. Look at how much transformation we’ve experienced because of God’s love. Look at how much healing we’ve experienced because of God’s love. Look at how much better our lives are because of God’s love. Imagine how much we can help others by allowing them to experience God’s love through us?