This week we continue in our series Love Is….

Last week, we explored the foundation of love – God’s love for us – and how we can show His love to others.

This week, we explore the idea of loving like Jesus in a world that is short on grace.

Andy Stanley recently released a book and message series titled Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets. He explores five questions to help us live our lives with fewer regrets.

The last question he poses can have the greatest impact on our lives, but it doesn’t necessarily have a return on investment.

Andy asks us – what does love require of me?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and many people will celebrate their love in a variety of ways while others may experience frustration, anger, regret, hopelessness, and even loneliness.

Jesus came for each one of us because He loves us unconditionally.

As Jesus walked among us, He said,

”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35

The pain our world is experiencing right now is like nothing I have witnessed. People are dying, businesses are shuttering, families being ripped apart, and let’s not forget about the blame game.

The Lord impressed upon my heart that the way to heal our world was to take stock of my own life by replacing some words within the verse.

Jesus said – “A new command I give you: Love one another.” Have you stopped for a minute to ask yourself what that means?

This was not a request. Jesus didn’t ask if you could love one another. He commanded it.

He goes on, and this is where I was convicted, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jesus loved us first. He died on the cross for our sins so we would not have to suffer an agonizing death.

That was sacrificial. That was grace. Grace is getting something we don’t deserve.

Now, take a moment, wherever you are – working out, walking, driving (please be careful), sitting, reflecting, and replace the phrase “you must love one another” with someone’s name, which you have been struggling with lately.

Say the verse again but with that person’s name in it:

“As I have loved you, so you must love “insert the person’s name”.

Did it sting a bit? It did for me when I inserted the person’s name. In fact, it broke my heart. I realized how selfish I was acting and that I was not extending grace to this person.

This is an exercise between you and God. In fact, the person’s name you inserted may not even realize there was an issue.

Jesus was the perfect model for us. He loved us unconditionally and proved it by dying on the cross for our sins.

You might be thinking, Dave, our world needs so much more than love and grace right now. It needs healing, justice, ownership, compassion, and the list continues.

Your right – it does need all of those things, but what it needs as a foundation is love.

We must remember that Jesus didn’t just talk about love; He demonstrated love.

What does love and grace look like?

Application

When we are frustrated with a situation or person, let this verse come back to you.

Fill in the gap with the person’s name. It could be:

  • Spouse’s name
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Teacher
  • Friends
  • Boss or Coworker
  • Sibling

It seems like the list is endless. What about someone who has different political views than you?

What about the Governor or President or Congressman or Senator?

Jesus didn’t expect me to love them, did He? He must have meant only people I know. He said, “love one another.” Remember, Jesus was not suggesting it; he was commanding us to love one another.

What if you experimented with this model for one week?

When your spouse, kids, coworker, or boss frustrate you, and you want to give them a piece of your mind – stop for a minute, and pray for them and your own heart.

Living a grace-filled life means we must extend grace, not just receive it.

If we each took a few seconds throughout our day and week to extend grace to others, our world would look a lot different.

As Christ-followers, we should show love to others because Jesus showed it to us first.

He said,

”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35

How will they know we love the Lord by loving others. This is how we love like Jesus in a grace starved world.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for modeling love and grace for us. Our world is hurting right now, and we ask You to help us love as You loved and to extend grace to those around us even when we don’t want to. Please work in our hearts this week to live lives full of love and grace. Amen!

Resources


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About

Hi, I'm Dave Anthold. I am a small group leader, short-term missionary, and visual storyteller. You can read my story here.

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