Read His Words Before Ours!
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
In a country where poverty and homelessness is prevalent and visible.
Most of the homeless people in the Bahamas are men, but sometimes they are mothers with babies, asking for money. The five dollars in my wallet could be the way of provision for a family’s dinner.
Yet, I find myself rolling up my windows while I am at a stop.
Avoiding eye contact with the person knocking on my car window.
I justify it with thoughts on their choices leading them here or concern for my safety.
Love each other like Christ loved us.
Unlike myself, where I am caught between loving myself and loving another, the Godhead was never at a loss for how to love.
He demonstrated it plainly.
He loved clearly.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Christ Died – Surrendering His all, giving up everything, holding nothing back and coming towards us in radical love.
For Us – Not for unknown strangers, but for His beloved ones, those crafted in His image. He cane for you and me.
While – Progressive, continuous, perpetual.
We Were Still Sinners – Us, the beloved of God, perpetually stuck in our own sin, utterly incapable of saving ourselves. In sin, we were eternally separated from the God who crafted us for relationship with Himself.
We deserved death, yet He took our place and bore our sins upon Himself. (1 Peter 2:24)
We hated Him, while He loved us.
He became our sin offering, taking our rightful punishment upon Himself as only the perfect God-man could do. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
He was separated from His Father, in our rightful place, that we might never again experience separation because of sin if we ask Him to forever save us.
And then, after enduring a great amount of physical pain, He intentionally, with full control, gave His spirit into the hands of the Almighty, Righteous, God and Judge.
Wiping our slates clean, He allowed us access to God as a result of His sacrifice,
all while we still hated Him, dead set against Him,
because we loved our Sin more than the Savior.
And there is the glimmer of hope.
Us, in our inky, black sin, impossibly, eternally removed from the glorious goodness of a God of love.
Watching the movie, The Passion of Christ, painted images in my mind for what Jesus’ suffering would have entailed as a human being, with flesh and blood.
I watched as Jesus was scourged with the cat o’ nine tails.
I watched as they mocked Him and spit on Him.
I watched as they push the crown of thorns onto his head.
I watched as they ridiculed His great name.
I watched as they dislocated His shoulders to drive the nails through His hands.
I watched as they raised the cross and lowered it into the ground.
I watched as they pierced His side, to declare Him dead.
I watched the blood run out of His body.
And I cried I witnessed the most beautiful acts of love I’d ever seen.
But Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t only about His humanity,
it was about His equality with God the Father.
Christ’s death was about relationship.
I watched as He asked the Father to forgive those torturing Him, including me.
I watched as He accepted the thief into the kingdom as a beloved son.
I watched as He took care of His mom, naming John, as her son, protector, and provider.
I watched as He held the world’s sin, crying out to His Father with a heart-wrenching pain that went far, far beyond any physical wound, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?!” Forsaken because of sin. My sin. Your sin.
I saw a love so amazing, it was beyond comprehension or description.
Jesus willingly took on the punishment of death
for crimes He did not commit,
for people that did not love Him,
including me. (Isaiah 53:5)
Love each other like Christ loved us.
If we’re honest, we often fail to love others like Christ loved us.
We forget that others are just as sinful as us.
We love conditionally, looking for what we can gain.
We respond as if Jesus did not die for others, calling them beloved, just as He calls us.
We are judgmental and hurtful to people who truly need Jesus’ love, just like us.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love,
I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
We can give much.
But if there is no love, we have nothing.
Christ’s death, and victorious resurrection, give us the ability to love as He did because of the life found through the Spirit of God who dwells within every believer.
The Spirit makes us one with God, while prompting us to extend His love to people around us.
Christ’s death itself was the glimmer of Hope.
Hope for resurrection.
Hope for restoration.
Hope to love a lost world.
The more we learn of this radiant, unconditional love, the deeper our hearts are shifted from death to life through the Holy Spirit. Gradually, His pattern of loving, becomes our own. We learn to love well, because we have been well loved.
May God be glorified and may the nations, and our neighbors, be forever changed because we love like Jesus!
Love well, Sisters.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!