Let all that you do be done in love.
By Carter Conlon
I am certain that it is the desire of every believer to love the way Christ does—to live what the Scripture says, to go the distance that Jesus was willing to go for lost humanity. And so we set out to obey His commandment to love others as He loves us . . . until we, like Peter, meet the limitations of our own ability to actually do so.
After all, opening your heart to other people always involves a risk. Many have loved deeply, given generously, opened their heart, and ultimately been stabbed in the back. Yes, sometimes these things happen. People may run away and deny they ever knew us; others who once leaned close and said they loved us end up taking off in our moment of need. But will we let that stop us from being given for them?
Jesus once said to His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). There is no way you can take up your cross and escape the betrayal. There will come a point when people will spit in your face, but as a follower of Christ, you must continue to love them.
When Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” it was not a suggestion but rather a commandment. However, we must also understand that He was actually adding another commandment to a series of commandments that nobody had been able to keep. The Law and the commands of God were meant to highlight the hopelessness and futility of our trying to become godly in our own strength. Therefore, I think you will agree with me that the great need of this hour is another outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need the love, compassion, and benevolence that marked the early Church, and it must be birthed and sustained in us by God.
It all starts with the willingness to say, “God, pour out Your Spirit, and help me to love like You do. I thank You for the blessings in my life, yet I am aware that they have been given to me for a reason—so don’t let me be blind to that purpose. Don’t let me simply take everything and use it for my own benefit. Oh, God, open my eyes and my heart; give me the courage to care. Take me where I cannot go in my own strength. Enable me to follow You to the place where You went—where You were poured out for others!”
The first evidence of this comes from Jesus, who says, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? . . . Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:27, 33).
Lately I’ve been anxious about something very real: my age! When I was in my twenties, I looked at my dad in his fifties and thought, “He’s so ancient.” Now that I’ve reached my fifties and am well into the second half of life, I’m starting to freak out. What does Jesus say to me in my worries? “Gary, can you add a single hour to your span of life? Don’t be anxious.”
Christ offers the same words to all of us who fret about our spiritual lives: Don’t be anxious. Regardless of how broken down and teetering you feel about your walk with Him, He declares, “You are a new creation.” The moment you chose to follow Jesus, He made you new—and that never changes. Even when you think you’ve strayed too far, Jesus says the opposite: “Don’t be anxious. I have provided everything you need to have fellowship with Me."