“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13 (NIV)
Can you remember a time when someone expressed love to you un-expectantly and extravagantly? A time when someone went overboard in their expression of kindness, their compliments were overwhelming, their gift so underserved? Regardless of what you have experienced from someone, it cannot compare to the perpetual expression of God’s love for you. Jesus takes it a step further in John 15 and tells us that He wants us to love each other the way that He loves us.
It is a command of God. Jesus didn’t just make it a nice polite suggestion. He commands it of us as the passion of His heart. So how do we do it? How do we love one another like Jesus has loved us? We have to look to Him as our example, He has led the way. We must depend on His Spirit living and loving in and through us. On our own, it is impossible. The first step is knowing and experiencing His love. For us to love others His love must flow through us.
The greatest expression of His love is the cross. The centrality of the cross is key for us to love others. Author Max Lucado, in his book He Choose The Nails says this: “Linger on the hill of Calvary. Rub a finger on the timber and press the nail into your hand. Taste the tinge of cheap wine and feel the scrape of a thorn on your brow. Touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God. Allow the tools of torture to tell their story, listen as they tell you what God did to win your heart” (from He Chose the Nails, Word Publishing, 2000).
Think about this for a moment. God is love, He only loves. He is not needy of our love to fulfill some narcissistic need. He is not lonely or desperate. He is love and He is eternally expressing that love to you and me.
Since we are not Love, we will never be able to love in the exact manner that God loves, but we can love as He loved us through the cross. We can live and give sacrificially, investing our lives in others for the sake His sake. We can choose to express love in un-expectant extravagant ways. We can love not based on what others can do for us but rather His love flowing through us to those who may not reiterate love.
Take a few moments today and prayerfully consider the cross and Jesus love for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you love others the way He has loved us.