Love is a Risky Business – Part 3

Love is a Risky Business Pt 3

In Part 1 we discussed why we love…

  1. Jesus commanded us to love others because He knows that loving others does not come naturally—even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He also wants us to learn to love the way that He loves—sacrificially.
  2. Loving others the way Jesus did drives us to trust and depend on Him for the results.

In Part 2 we discussed how to create a loving culture in the church…

  1. Breaking down walls within the local churches.
  2. Create real Cross-Connections with those outside of our cliques and our factions.
  3. Help newer and less connected folks to connect with the church’s vision and purpose, and more importantly, with the Savior–not just bring them into our clique or group.
  4. Cultivate a Kingdom-Building Culture—ambassadors for Christ.
  5. Develop a Culture of Service—equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.

Now let’s discuss how to love. In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul uses both adjectives and verbs to explain what love is and what love does (e.g. love is kind and love bears all things), as well as what love is not and what love does not do (e.g. love is not puffed up and love does not behave rudely). So we get the idea that love is active and it acts a certain way. It’s not just something you feel or something you say, but it is also something you do. But what about some specific guidelines on how to love?

I find it interesting that I see no record of Jesus saying, “I love you,” in the New Testament. Yet I know He loves us. The Disciples knew it too. In John 15:12-14 Jesus commanded us to follow His example and again He spoke about “loving as He loved” after the foot washing in John 13. When our kids were young I used to kiss them goodbye and say, “Daddy loves you,” every morning before I left the house to go to work. Yes it is good to remind folks that we love them but those words are just words if they are not backed up by a willingness to act. Every time I said those words I felt like I meant them. More importantly I never hesitated to put my kid’s genuine needs ahead of my own. Sometimes my kids would automatically reply, “I love you too Daddy,” but there were times when they did not act like they loved me. Especially when I did not give them their way. I wonder if we in the church are sometimes like that too. We say we love one another, and we feel like we mean it, but do we act like it?

16 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. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Jn 3:16–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)

John reminds us that to love like Jesus is sacrificial. It’s obvious that Christians should be willing to meet needs and provide materials goods to our brethren who need them if we can. I think this also applies to our time and our attention. But notice that John adds that we should also love in truth. I think it is just as important, if not more, not to shut up our hearts when it may cost us something. That word for heart in v.17 could be rendered as compassion. We want to be hilarious givers not grumpy givers. We also want to remember to give in such a way that it brings glory to God and not to us. I think we all struggle with these things at one time or another.

Next time we will take a look at Philippians 1:9-11. In that passage the Apostle Paul prays that the Philippian’s love may abound in “knowledge” and “all discernment.”

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