Thursday, March 03, 2016

Loving Others As Jesus Loves Us

Sometimes my spirit sinks when I hear certain things preached. When you truly connect with the truth and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you realize that so many things that are preached are nothing more than humanistic religion. So it is with the topic, ‘loving others,’ — or even better, ‘loving others as Jesus loves us.’ A preacher can go anywhere with the topic of loving others. They can build a great legalistic sermon that can bury people under piles of religious rules! And have you seriously contemplated ’loving others as Jesus loves us’? That was Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden: “You shall be as God.” Believing the preaching that we can love like God loves, approaches spiritual absurdness! Jesus does SAY we should love others the way he loves us (John 15:12). But the question is: what does he MEAN by this? He doesn’t mean for us to do this in the flesh: ‘Try to be like God.’ But there is a sense in which we can at least BEGIN loving others the way Jesus loves us. This is with regard to our demands and expectancies. HOW does Jesus love us? He begins by not accusing us (John 5:45). If we are in him, we have NO condemnation (Rom 8:1). How many times are we told NOT to judge? Jesus accepts us as we are — no matter how bad we are. Jesus doesn’t demand that we ‘clean up our act’ before he loves us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And we are still sinners, made righteous by the blood of Jesus. We ALL need to change! None of us is perfect… “No, not one.” If you question whether you need to change or not, just ask someone close to you. We ALL should change! But it is not demands, expectancies or condemnation that changes us. God’s love changes us — by NOT imposing demands and expectancies upon us! If we don’t experience God’s love and acceptance, we feel he is demanding and critical. Too often we live by a type of ‘reverse golden rule’ — we do unto others as we perceive God does it unto us. If we don’t know his love, then we feel he is demanding. If we feel HE is demanding, then we are demanding. Isn't it true that “Children live what they learn"? Are you willing to accept those close to you the way Jesus accepts us — with no strings attached? It’s not easy to let go of our demands and expectations, but this IS what God does for us. This IS loving others as Jesus loves us.

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