So I had a pretty epic revelation last night. It dawned on me that essentially Jesus’ whole point in coming to earth was to die for mankind, thereby defeating death and sin for and all who trust in Him. See, He KNEW the kind of death He would endure. He KNEW the excruciating agony He would suffer, both mentally and physically. Yet Jesus still chose to obey His Father’s will. Not only did He obey God’s will, but He also didn’t spend His precious earthly time absorbed in self-pity of what was to come. If I had been Jesus, I would all about, “Woe is me. I’m about to die for y’all, and you guys are worried about if we should pay taxes or not?!” But seriously. Jesus wasn’t like that (because, well, He’s God, and God is awesome).
Instead of focusing on everything to come, Jesus invested in everyone He came in contact with. He understood that all that mattered was love, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, encouragement… All that mattered was love. Let’s forget our own problems and our own “junk.” Let’s focus on others. Let’s focus on God. Let’s love.
In my Life Group last night, we were talking about the standards of Christianity. There’s really two standards: the church standard and the Jesus standard. The church standard can be pretty legalistic. We sit, stand, sing, pray, sit, leave. Oh, yeah, and we throw a $20 in the plate if we are feeling generous. But, friends! Christianity is so much more than that! The Jesus standard is what we should hold ourselves to. Jesus didn’t judge; He led people into the truth. He didn’t condemn; He set people free. Most of all, Jesus didn’t hate. He loved.
Love is sacrificial. It means laying down the interests of the lover in exchange for the beloved. I’ve recently been praying for God to teach my heart more about love and to give me opportunities to love. And He has! You cannot practice what you do not understand. The system of this world throws the word “love” around without realizing the incredible power of love itself. Love speaks in truth. Love seeks out beauty in everyone. Love is strong. Love encourages and forgives. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (Read the rest of that chapter, because wow. Just wow.)
Today, this week, this month, lavish love. Love freely. Find someone in need of the love of God, and love them. You don’t have to be all “preachy.” You just have to be sincere. Love in ways that are unique to you. Everyone shows (and receives) love differently. So be you and be love.