Once when a little boy was roughhousing with his dog, his mother said to him, “Now, Bobby, I know you love Buster, but you’re loving him too much. How would you feel if someone huge picked you up and squeezed you so hard you couldn’t breathe?” The boy thought about that for a moment and then said, “I guess I’d feel like it was my birthday and Aunt Thelma was here!”
That’s a funny story, yet it speaks to how special Bobby is to his Aunt Thelma. Sometimes we might wonder what makes Christian love so special. Is Christian love different from love that is expressed in our unbelieving culture? In John 13:35 Jesus said, All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. Love is the distinguishing mark of the follower of Jesus, but even unbelievers express love for others. What makes Christian love different from how love is popularly understood and expressed in our secular culture today?
As seen by the high number of divorces, abandonment, abuse, violence, and cruelty in our world today, many people misunderstand what love is. Christian love is unique because it springs out of the nature of God himself, not just out of the emotions and desire we feel at the moment. A lot of people will “love” someone as long as the feeling is there, but what they don’t understand is that love is action whether we feel it or not. The Bible teaches us that God is love (1 John 4:16), and that we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Because God’s love shown to us originates in Him and it is expressed in practical action, we must get our cues for how to express love from God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 we see that love moves us to act in the best interests of others, even when we don’t feel like it. Love makes you patient and kind. It melts away envy, boasting, and pride. It makes you mind your manners, override your own self-centeredness, control your temper, and forgive wrongs. It takes no delight in pointing out what’s wrong with others, and finds joy in honesty. It makes you protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering.
And Christian love never fails. Jesus loves you with a practical, unfailing, never-ending love. Let’s take our cues for how to love one another from Him.
Working together with you to become more like Jesus by expressing love practically,