Love Like Jesus

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
 Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What is love? If you’re like me, that question is immediately followed up by the words “baby don’t hurt me.” Despite that silliness, this is a pretty big question. What IS love? In English, we only have one word for ‘Love,’ which can lead to some miscommunications – especially in romantic relationships. Eek. In the Greek used in the New Testament, however, there weren’t miscommunications on this level. Let me explain.

There are four different words for Love in Greek that are used in the Bible. Phileo – which is love used for friendship (think Philadelphia – City of Brotherly Love). Then, there’s storge, this refers to love between family members. The third word for love is Eros, and this refers to romantic love shared between a husband and wife. And finally, the fourth, and the most important is agape – which means the love of God for man and of man for God. Agape is love because of the character of the person loving, rather than the worthiness of the object being loved. It is love ‘in spite of’ rather than ‘because of,’ at least in reference to us. When it comes to us, agape love looks like unconditional love.

When it comes to God, the question ‘What is Love?’ is answered by the statement, God’s love is Agape love – unconditional love for His people despite whatever we’ve done. Being made in the image of God, you are recipients of God’s unconditional love. So how can we reflect this aspect of God in our own lives? It’s a simple thing to do, right? Love people unconditionally? It’s easier said than done. By far. Even beginning to think about loving someone unconditionally is difficult, but if you want to reflect the image of God, you should strive to love like Jesus loves! But let’s swing back around to that first statement.

If you want to love God the way that God loves you, then you need to consider the statement “Baby don’t hurt me.” We all sin, but sin hurts God. To Love God the way that God loves you, that doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect. Obviously, you CAN’T be perfect, but that’s not what God is asking of us. God isn’t asking you to be perfect, He’s just asking for honesty and accountability.

Reflect

  1. What does love mean to you? What is God’s love to you?
  2. How can you love like Jesus loves?

Pray

God, I love you. Thank you for loving me. God, I know that I fail and that I’m imperfect, but despite that you love me. Help me to love others the way that You love me. God, I know that you don’t ask for perfection, and I ask that you help me to be honest with you and with myself, and I ask that you hold me accountable for the things that I do. God help me to be a beacon of your light, and that I would reflect your love to the world. In your name I pray, Amen.

Philip Wines, May 20, 2020
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