What Does Love Look Like?

We’ve seen Jesus’s word to his disciples on pillows, mugs and blankets. They make us feel cozy, don’t they? But these words were not platitudes to comfort his followers, but commands to stretch and challenge them. Jesus told them to love like he loved them just moments before he died for them. How many of us can say we loved to the point of death? Since we’re reading this and haven’t been raised to life again, let’s admit we have all fallen short of that high aim.

But God gives grace! I don’t share this to condemn us because Jesus certainly didn’t. In fact, he reminded his disciples (as he reminds us) before this commandment that only by remaining in Him can we bear much fruit and have joy! How do these two concepts live together?

How can we bear fruit and have joy if we die? This is the secret beauty of the life in Christ, friends. Our old selves, the ones that are full of too many sins to count, die a bit more as we abide in Christ. By abiding in Him, we grow a little more in love toward the Lord and others.

When love starts to show itself in our lives, it is because God helps us abide in Him. If we choose to think about what pleases God instead of thoughts that please ourselves, we’re growing in love. From those purer thoughts, if we then forgive that person who has wronged us for the seventh time, we’re growing in love. While we might not love to the point of shedding blood, we must not think that the call to love is an easy walk. Love calls us to pray for and bless those who hurt us (Matthew 5:44). Love asks us to keep being patient in affliction (Romans12:12). Love asks us to speak hard truths in love (Proverbs 27:6). That’s just a short list of the beautiful challenge from love.

But we don’t walk it alone. The Holy Spirit patiently guides us (Galatians 5:16-26). When we accept his training, it yields a fruit of peaceful righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).

We can see from Jesus’s life that while loving one another isn’t always a cozy feeling, it is one that yields peaceful fruit of righteousness. And isn’t the true love of Christ richer than a pleasant platitude without depth?

If you're joining along with us in this week's memory verse, we pray as we memorize Jesus's words that we abide in Christ and cultivate His love in our lives.

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