It is easier to love those who are like us, who share the same lifestyle or traits in common with us. It’s also easy to love strangers. But what about those who push our buttons or get under our skin?
Do you struggle to love those who are closest to you? Our family and loved ones know us well and can sometimes frustrate us. Perhaps you find yourself holding back your love because of fear of getting hurt or rejected.
I had an aunt who didn’t hold back but let you know how she felt about you. Most of the family avoided crossing her because they did not want to be on receiving end of her words.
Can you relate? Do you know anyone like that?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22).
Jesus narrowed the ten commandments into two. The first is to Love God with all your heart, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
What is love?
The love we are talking about is different from the world’s definition. For instance, I love my dog, I love my job, or I love this dress.
The love I am referring to is God.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16). Love is an essential nature of God, his essence, and being. And because of that, we must love too.
We love because God first loved us. How did he love us?
God loved us through his only Son, Jesus, who gave his life as a ransom for us all on the Cross. (John 3:16)
Jesus commands us to love others; how exactly do we love?
The Way of Love
1 Cor 13:1-7 presents the blueprint for growing in extravagant love.
If you and I are eloquent and can talk with angelic ecstasy but don’t love, we are like the creaking of a rusty gate. If we speak God’s Word with power, revealing all kinds of mysteries, and if we have faith that can move a mountain but we don’t love, we are nothing.
If we give everything we own to the poor and even go to the stake, get burned as a martyr, but we don’t love, we’re nowhere. So, no matter what we say, believe, or do, we’re bankrupt without love.
Love never dies, never quits, or takes failure as defeat. This is the way of love. Of the three virtues, faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love.
To love is to take a risk with our spouse, children, co-workers, friends, and those that get on our last nerve. Love others as yourself. The extravagant love that God is asking of us depends not on our feelings or circumstances but the Holy Spirit.
I encounter people who are hard to love regularly. My daily prayer is to ask God to help me love them with his love. Though sometimes I mess up, I am getting better at loving.
God’s love for you has no limits. His grace has no measure. He is an endless source of love. We can grow in extravagant love by the power of the Holy Spirit. He will empower us to love others beyond what we think is possible.
Our love for others shows our gratitude to God.
Friend, because God has chosen us for this new life of love, let’s wear love and love others well.
Take a risk…Love!
In what ways can you let Jesus’ love shape your response to a difficult person or situation?
The Secret to extravagant love is part of our series on Fruit of the Spirit.
Watch the Secret of Extravagant Love on YouTube.