1 John 4:10-11“This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us that much, we also should love each other.”
Why do you study scripture? What are you seeking to accomplish as you flip through the pages of the Bible reading chapter after chapter, verse by verse? For me it's a simple answer and I hope you feel the same way. When I read through the Bible, I hope to gain a better understanding of who God is, I want to learn more about Jesus and deepen my relationship with Him, and I want to learn to be more like Jesus, and who God created me to be. Jesus came to this earth to teach us some very valuable truths and to show us how to be the Christian God has called us to be, in the world of sin. Today I'm going to share 10 ways we can love like Jesus. But it's not just about reading them, it's actually about putting them into practice.
1. Speak without accusing- James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily.”
One of the number one communication errors is using the words, you did, you are, you make me, you… you… you. When we start a conversation like that the person immediately goes on the defense. Try speaking using I see it like, I feel it's like, and more and see how the other person begins to open up and actually listen.
2. Listen without interrupting- Proverbs 18:13 “Anyone who answers without listening is foolish and confused.”
This is hard because it's easy to want your opinions heard, your voice heard. When one begins to interrupt another, they are saying they really don't care about the others opinion or what they're saying. It's not an easy technique and I often still struggle myself, but if you allow a person to finish, you just might understand them a little more and they will want to share more with you. Also, as Proverbs tells us, when we speak too quickly, we could be left with egg on our face.
3. Answer without arguing- Proverbs 17:1 “It is better to eat a dry crust of bread in peace than to have a feast where there is quarreling.”
Is it always worth it to be right? Have the last word? Be disagreeable about things? When I was younger, I would have leaned more towards the answer being yes on a few points but now a little older and hopefully wiser I've learned that we all see things differently and God takes us all where we're at and builds our character. As long as we can agree on Jesus, the Bible and salvation, the rest is simply surface issues. Share what you have learned, answer the way God has shown you and leave the “I'm right” argument out of it. Proverbs clearly says life will be a lot easier.
4. Promise without forgetting- Proverbs 13:2 “People will be rewarded for what they say, but those who can’t be trusted want only violence.”
There's nothing like empty promises that can leave another bitter. Yes, there will be those forgetful moments but it's better to only promise if you know you can and will keep it. And when you tell others you'll pray for their requests, don't just say it as a platitude, really take time out of your life and focus on them even if it's just a few brief moments.
5. Forgive without punishing- Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.”
Jesus said once He forgives, He forgets the sin as if tossed out to sea. So, why when we forgive, do we tend to bring this back up again as to remind the other who hurt us what they did and how they owe us. Jesus paid the debt of your sins on the cross, as hard as it can be we need to forgive and move on, let it go and grow the relationship stronger than before.
6. Trust without wavering- 1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.”
Have you ever done or heard of the trust fall? You are asked to fall backwards into someone else’s arms without buckling, stopping, or hesitating. Could you do that with your friends? How about a stranger? It's not just trust in Jesus we are asked to have but trust without wavering with the people God is put into our lives. Will some hurt you? Probably. Will some break the trust? Most likely. But when you trust God, you will learn how to get through those times and still trust all things work together for good according to God's purpose.
7. Give without sparing- Proverbs 21:26 “All day long they wish for more, but good people give without holding back.”
We are human and selfishness is built in so giving of our time or money is difficult, again a struggle for myself. Yet my hubby is one of the least selfish men I know and always willing to give his time and money when he can. I have even questioned him myself, but I won't stop who he is because this is the man God created him to be. With the good heart he has, he can wheel and deal and get things we need as he helps others get whatever they need. God blesses him because he tries to help where and when he can without sparing. I know there's others out there like that too, he's just one I see daily and personally know. Our purpose here is to serve Jesus, to spread His gospel and to help bring others to salvation and a lot shown seen by our actions. Selfishness will only get one so far but trying to give like Jesus even to your enemies will be, like the Bible says, pouring hot coals on their heads. They can't fight someone who won't fight back.
8. Share without pretense- Ephesians 4:16 “The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.”
Share with all honesty even if you get nothing in return. Don't go around with a hidden agenda, expect something because you did something good. Just simply share. Share Jesus and how He's helped you, guided you, shown you, His salvation. Plant the seed and let Jesus do the rest.
9. Enjoy without complaint- Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
We can be complainers at times, can't we? Never happy when it's too cold or too hot. Can't stand the traffic especially during construction season. We aren't happy when things aren't going our way, yet we find reasons to complain when they do. Want to play and live life yet complain when we have to put the work in. The Bible clearly says don't complain. Instead enjoy what you have before you. You are alive, God's giving you a new day of opportunities. Instead of complaining we should be looking at the glass half full and find the silver lining in every situation. Even on the cross when all the world had seemed to turn on Jesus, He still prayed the Father would forgive them. Try going one day without one complaint and see how you feel at the end of the day.
10. Pray without ceasing- Colossians 1:9 “Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things.”
This is the most important way we can love like Jesus. Throughout the New Testament you can find Jesus in prayer. His strength came from that connection with the Father. Strength to face the rejections, the constant accusations, the complaining. Through prayer He found the strength to love all those around Him because He knew their salvation, restoring God to His creation, defeating satan, was what we need more than anything this world threw at Him or throws at us. Jesus never gave up and He will never give up on anyone. We too, can love like that even to those who have hurt us deeply or those who seem hopelessly lost, even for ourselves. Never give up, keep the prayer line open and stay connected to Jesus. In Him you can find all the strength you need for each day.
Go ahead, try to love more like Jesus today. Open the Bible and gain a deeper, richer life with and in Jesus. He's always here for us and He’s listening.
For those who have followed along in our 1 John study we are on our last lesson, lesson 8. Hopefully you have found some new insight and today's blog has helped conclude 1 John and living like Jesus and loving like Jesus. If you are just reading this for the first time you can join us as we read 1 John 5:11-20. As always the link to the lesson is below and again I will post all the lessons if you would like to start your own study group or personal study. I encourage you to just spend some time in God's Word today even if you just want to read through 1 John and let the Holy Spirit lead you to what He wants you to learn. It's not about how much time we spend in devotions, it's how much time we spend with Jesus creating a deeper relationship with Him. Have a wonderful weekend.
1 John 5:11-20- Lesson 8: https://www.docdroid.net/rwwLafW/deep-certainty-8-docx
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