Imitate His example–love one another unselfishly.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:12-14, New King James Version)
But what is love? Love is primarily patient, faithful, hopeful (positive), and enduring. In other words, love never quits loving.
1 Corinthians 13:7, GOD’S WORD Translation – “7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.”
Jesus died for us willingly, with love in His heart towards us. He knew there was no other way for us to be saved from our sins. Someone had to pay the price and God the Father said Jesus was the only acceptable sacrifice (Hebrews 10:5-7). Jesus wanted to pay and He wanted to obey God the Father.
John 10:17-18, GOD’S WORD Translation – “17 The Father loves me because I give my life in order to take it back again. 18 No one takes my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do.”
Jesus had a faithful attitude until the end. He knew what a crucifixion was–it was one of Rome’s primary methods of punishment. Jesus understood what was going to happen to him in advance, yet didn’t cave in and quit.
Luke 22:14-16, New King James Version – “14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’”
Jesus was forgiving right until the bitter end, but never became bitter Himself.
Luke 23:33-34, New King James Version – “33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Because Jesus Christ died for us, we are free from sin which prevents us from loving others. We are no longer in bondage to hatred, “unforgiveness”, greed, lust (selfishness without respect or limits) or any other behavior or evil attitude that displeases God. Our sin nature was nailed to the cross and died with Christ (Colossians 2:11-15). We have a new nature now that wants to please God—nurture your new nature (Ephesians 4:21-24).
So what pleases God most? Faith, hope and love. One day all of the ministry gifts (prophets, pastors, teachers, apostles and evangelists) will pass away because they are no longer needed—we will all know Christ and live forever with God (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) & Hebrews 8:8-13). But faith, hope and love will remain. So, let’s practice abiding in faith, hope and love now.
5 Simple ways to show faith, hope and love:
- Speak encouraging words to others, especially when their circumstances are discouraging.
- Be prepared to help—keep loose change, cash, gift cards, umbrellas and other necessities handy to help people in need.
- Offer assistance (this isn’t always money) to that person who is struggling. Give a ride to someone without a car; cook a family meal for that single mom with kids; or clean an elderly person’s home or offer to do errands, et cetera.
- Forgive–No explanation needed.
- Obey God. When we love God and have faith in Him, we will obey His commandments.