This past week Debbie called me, wanting me to write down a BUMPER STICKER she saw. It read, “To believe is to care. To care is to do.” It immediately drew my attention to one of the verses mentioned last week, found in 1st John 3:18. John writes, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” In a world of frequent lip service, we are called by our Lord into action.
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1st John 3:16
When it comes to doing “good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith,” (Galatians 6:10), it would seem reasonable to have a standard of sorts to help guide us along. Jesus spoke of such a standard in John 13:34 saying “that you love one another; as I have loved you.” How did He love us? The verse above reveals to us that love is understood through the laying down of Jesus’s life. So, if we truly want to grow in our understanding of the care He desires for us to have for everyone, we must look to Him.
I don’t want to oversimplify the task at hand, but I also don’t want to complicate it. God would never call us to do something we could not do through Him. So, if I were to look at Jesus, what might be a couple of characteristics He revealed that could help us in loving one another more fervently (Remember that word from last week?)? Paul writes that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation” and “humbled Himself.” (Philippians 2:7, 8) Listen to the ETRV concerning v7, “He gave up his place with God and agreed to be like a servant.” Without Christ-like humility, our ability to love is diminished profoundly. Of course, coupled with that humility is the word obedience. Once again, Paul wrote of Jesus saying, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) The resolve of Jesus is seen in these words, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34) He was on a mission that would show us love’s greatest example, by laying down His life for sinful man, all because He wanted to please His Father.
In the weeks to come there will be more aspects of Jesus’s life that we will consider to help shape our understanding of godly love. One thing is for sure, without humility and a willingness to obey, achieving any semblance of that love is impossible. Let us look towards Him, seeking those very things, so that we too can be pleasing to the Father.