How Can I Love Others?

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

God never asks us to do the impossible; in fact, He makes it possible that we can actually enjoy what He asks us to do. For example, this verse explains how we can love others:

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).

A fountain cannot produce different kinds of water. It produces fresh or salt water (James 3:11), but not both. Hearts bent on evil cannot hope to love others. But notice what God did at salvation: He poured out His love into our hearts, enabling us to love others. We do not love them because they deserve it. We love them because God does, and we have His love poured out into our hearts. When we received Christ, He gave us the capacity to love others.

This love demonstrates itself at the cross, God’s greatest manifestation of His love. But the cross also provides the Christian with a new identity, and a new calling. We no longer preoccupy ourselves with self-centered things, but instead we love God and others. Notice Peter’s words:

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

In dying to self through God’s love, we pledge to love God and others. Often we view the world as enemies, but remember the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). It’s true that one day God will judge the world in righteousness (Romans 3:6), but now He calls us to reach out in love to those outside of Christ.

When Christ’s love fills our hearts, we can love others, because love comes from God (1 John 4:7). How do we love others? By sharing the saving message of God’s love in Christ. When Christ addressed the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2-3), He warned one of them that they had lost their first love (Revelation 2:4). He told them to repent, and do the works they did at first (Revelation 2:5).

Application

1. Confess any self-centeredness that has crept in.
Ask God to forgive, and He will!

2. Ask God to fill you with His love.
Remember, we have no ability or capacity to love God or others apart from God. If our love has cooled, we need renewal. God will abundantly provide that refreshing renewal.

3. Reach out to a hurting world with God’s love.
Jesus saw the crowds as sheep without a shepherd. Do we see them that way? Too often we see them as annoyances, not as hurting people in need of God’s love in Christ.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for demonstrating Your amazing love to me, and for sacrificing Your Son that I might have salvation. Please grant that I may point others to You through loving words and actions. I pray that You will use me to impact others for You.


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