From the sermon I will be preaching tomorrow:
THE PRACTICE OF LOVE IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES
Obviously, love is very important, much more than many have ever realized. Listen to what Jesus says in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
Notice that Jesus says this is a commandment, not a suggestion. And God never commands us to do anything that we cannot do.
We tend to think that love is something that just happens to us because that is what the world teaches. You fall in love like you fall into a ditch, or you fall out of love like you fall out of a tree. You can’t help it. It is something that just happens.
ILL. Someone sings, "I can’t help falling in love with you." Someone else sings, "You’ve lost that loving feeling." Someone else sings, "I love you. Please tell me your name." That’s really deep love, you know.
In contrast, the Bible teaches that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. Which means, I can will to love you, and you in turn can will to love me. So this is not a hopeless situation at all.
Now, what kind of love is being talked about here? In Philippians 2:4 Paul says that he wants us to behave as Jesus Christ behaved. In other words to love in the same way that Jesus loved.
Here is the way Jesus loved. He said, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." In other words, love becomes unselfish. We begin to think about other people and their interests just like we think about ourselves and our interests. We become unselfish. Now I want to apply that in several different areas.
A. First of all, see how that would work in the family. Let’s suppose that someone in every family represented here this morning would say, "I’m going to go home and put this into practice."
For those with spouses, let’s begin with our spouses. We ought to love our husbands or our wives first and most. We ought to be kinder, more tender, more gentle to them even if she or he is behaving like a jerk. We should begin first in our marriage relationships.
Can you see how that would affect the atmosphere of the home? There wouldn’t be any arguing or bickering, no sharp words between each other because their interests are just as important as ours.
And pretty soon it filters down to the relationship we share with our children, maybe even our in-laws and everybody else in the family. Just because we love them.
It begins in the family, then it spills over into the church family. In fact Jesus said, "By this they shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
That’s the way the world will find out that the message of Jesus Christ is valid. And if we’re really going to love each other the way Jesus loved us then we have to develop in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had.
Can you remember getting caught up in something and so identifying with what’s going on that you actually became a part of a story? Well, that’s compassion, and it will cause us to ask ourselves some tough questions.
"What’s it like to hurt deep inside and no one knows you’re hurting and you don’t feel free to tell them that you’re hurting? What’s it like being sick and knowing you’re not going to get well, and wanting more than anything else to live? What’s it like to be handicapped? What’s it like to be a minority? What’s it like to be dealing with marital problems or domestic problems? What’s it really like?”
What kind of burdens are people carrying, and do we care enough to help them bear those burdens? That’s what it means when Jesus talks about loving one another as He has loved us.