To truly consider loving like Christ, we must first look at…
How Jesus Loved
Now on a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
I remember the nails through My hands
And your name in My heart
And how in their wordless way the nails explain
The love that I feel inside
Now I can never forget how much you mean to Me
‘Cause I will always remember whenever I see
Where I carved your name into My tree
Where I wrapped My heart around your name
Then I took your arrow through My heart
Just to say, “I love you”
I really love you
– Chris Rice “My Tree“
Our Savior was the purest example of love. During His life on earth, He performed miracles, met the needs of the sinful, the weak, the poor, and the sick, and always spoke the truth in love. In the end, He sacrificed himself fully for others, even when the sacrifice was painful. Christ gave Himself, ultimately giving His own life, so that we could be saved.
Be lifted higher
Than all You’ve overcome
Your name be louder
Than any other song
There is no power
That can come against Your love
The cross was enough
– Chris Tomlin “Jesus, Son of God“
What Can We Do?
Jesus’ life is a wonderful model of love, but how is the Christian of today supposed to measure up to such a high standard? Today we are so full of selfish thoughts: What we would like to accomplish, what we want to accumulate financially and materially, who we can impress. Being so full of earthly wants and desires, thinking so much of ourselves, how can we get to that place of loving like Christ?
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth... Colossians 3:2Click To Tweet
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth…” Colossians 3:2
The first step would be to stop being so consumed by our personal goals, dreams and aspirations. While there is nothing wrong with pursuing goals while here on earth, our list shouldn’t include only physical or material things. As children of God, our top priority should be spiritual issues. We need to include spiritual goals about how we will show the love of God to everyone we meet. Because of our naturally sinful nature, we must be very intentional, planning in advance how to not think so much of ourselves but instead think of the needs of others and how we can meet those needs.
Be on the Lookout for Needs
Thinking and praying in the morning, before we leave the house, for who we will meet. Praying over what we will say in order to be a good witness to those we come across on a daily basis. Some people’s only view of Jesus will be us.
Did you read that? You may be someone’s only view of Jesus.You may be someone's only view of Jesus.Click To Tweet
There is so much need all around us. An overwhelming amount, really. Just take a moment, open your eyes and really look at the people who are in your life and who you may see as you go through your normal day.
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
– Brandon Heath “Give Me Your Eyes“
Meet Real Needs
When a homeless person asks for help, how do you react? Do you immediately think of how you “deserve” the blessings you have and keep moving, or do you think “But for the grace of God, there go I,” and show compassion? In that scenario, giving money is not usually the best thing to do, but you may be able to help with a meal and a few words of encouragement. It’s disheartening to see the church so lackluster in her care for those in the world, and even those in her own body.
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
– Casting Crowns “If We Are The Body“
Help a Stranger
Something friends have suggested is keeping gift bags prepared in the glove compartment or trunk. Inside the gallon-size Ziplock bags can be a water bottle, gift cards to inexpensive restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway), a small Bible, handwritten verses or tracts, a list of local shelters, churches or agencies to help (here the biggest one is Wheeler Mission), toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, deodorant, bar of soap, chapstick, waterless shampoo, hand sanitizer, comb, disposable razor, shaving cream, compact mirror, clippers, washcloth, lotion, sunscreen), non-perishable foods (foil packs of tuna, single serve chicken salad/tuna salad, beef jerky, small pepperoni packs, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, granola bars, small peanut butter containers, single serve applesauce/fruit, gum or mints, etc), single serve plastic utensils, and wet wipes. In rainy season, a collapsible umbrella or a foldable poncho. In the winter, a blanket, warm socks, gloves or a knit hat.
If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Never holding back
– Sidewalk Prophets “Live Like That“
Help a Friend
In this difficult time in our country, job losses are commonplace. The unemployment rate may be (supposedly) going down, but when you’re part of the percentage losing your job to downsizing, statistics mean nothing. Losing a job can be devastating. It’s not simply the loss of income, but the unemployed also lose the fulfillment and purpose of having a job to attend daily. Think about what someone else might need to help lighten an impossibly heavy load. Showing care and compassion for an unemployed friend could be giving a small gift card to a nearby gas station or grocery store.
Sometimes (no, usually!) the giving will be a sacrifice; it will probably not be comfortable. God may prompt you to give money you had set aside for something you wanted and your obedience will not only bless the other person, but you will also grow in God as you trust him to guide you. Do not give with the hopes of being paid back – give without wanting anything in return.
Help with TimeSometimes it’s not money that is needed, but our time.Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s not money that is needed, but our time. You could volunteer at a shelter, at church, or at Habitat for Humanity. Take a friend who’s not doing well financially out to a meal, or make a meal for their whole family, or order them pizza. Offer to watch their kids so they can go to an interview. Sometimes just taking a moment to listen to someone who’s going through a hard time is all they need. Think of how you would like someone to help you in any given circumstance, and do that for someone else!
Light your world,
let the love of God shine through
In the little things you do,
light your world
And though your light may be
Reaching only two or three,
light your world
– Newsong “Light Your World“
There are so many situations in life where others around us are hurting and need the love of Christ shown through acts of kindness and generosity. Through every day, ordinary things. Loving like Christ takes an open and giving heart, ready to sacrifice your wants to fill the needs of others. It’s not easy, by any means, but it’s a special kind of blessing to be a blessing to others. You can do it. We are called to be like Christ, and He is Love.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Here’s a short video of a gentleman my friend posted today. When I saw it, I couldn’t resist putting it on this post, because he is the kind of person who needs to be shown love.
I’d love to hear some practical ideas for sharing Christ’s love! Leave a comment (here on the blog or over at our Facebook Group) and let’s get talking.
Linking up with: