“Love, a word that comes and goes but few people really knows what it means to really love somebody.”
Yo, that’s my jam – I still bump it till this day!
Kirk Franklin and God’s Property hit it on the head with this song. Love is an overused word which is often misused on a human level. However, it doesn’t have to be only a few people who get to know what it means to love. Did you know that by knowing Christ you know love? The Bible says that God is love!
We get to experience the abundance of God’s love daily. His love covers us even with our imperfections and sinful nature. And guess what? We’re called to love others in the same way that God loves us. Yes, that means as God’s children we are called to love others despite their flaws.
The good news is that we can learn how to love biblically. With God, we’re capable of giving the same type of love that God gives us, to others (John 13:34). The bible states that loving your neighbor as you love yourself is the second greatest commandment after loving God (Mark 12:30-31). Love is so powerful that it holds a high rank in the commandments because without love, you’re nothing.
Other than loving God and your neighbor, no other commandment is ranked in order of importance. God wants us to LOVE our neighbor because love has the power to change hearts. When the love that you give others aligns with that of the Bible, the recipient has the opportunity to experience the true love that comes from God. A lot of the time, it is the love that we give that brings people to Christ more than preaching the good news.
For the record, your neighbor isn’t limited to believers; your neighbor is everyone other than yourself and God. Giving biblical love is hard, especially when you’re called to love those who don’t love you.
As a black woman in today’s world, I completely understand that the hate is real. However, God has called us to love our enemies. I’ve learned that you can love the person who is your enemy while hating the evil spirit within them. Love emanates from God. So when you don’t have the strength to love your enemy, allow God’s love give you the power to love your enemy.
Now that we know the importance of loving another, we need to apply it. Love is more than saying things like “I love you.” It’s an expression of your heart played out through your actions. Today, I’m sharing three biblical habits to help you love your neighbor!
- Understanding God’s love for you and your neighbor – The same Jesus who went up on that cross to sacrifice Himself for you also sacrificed Himself for your neighbor. Yes, I’m even talking about your lukewarm neighbor who enjoys life in the world. You see, for God so loved the WORLD that He gave (John 3:16). Jesus went up on that cross for the saints as well as the ones who threw stones at Him. By understanding how deep and wide His perfect love extends should soften your flawed heart to love your neighbors.
- Offer comfort and compassion – It’s one thing to offer your shoulder and there’s another to stick out your shoulder and have another lean on you. Actions speak much louder than words
; andthere’s nothing more impactful than being there for others when they’re down. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are called to comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says God comforts us so that we can comfort others in the same way when they’re in any trouble. Also, comfort abounds through Christ. That means even when you have nothing to give, you can still comfort others by allowing God’s strength to pour out hope and love through you. When comforting another, you’re expressing biblical love by protecting, honoring and being patient to their needs.
- Forgive – It’s a sobering reminder that though you’ve been hurt, you’ve also inflicted pain unto someone else and have wanted to be forgiven. Forgiving others may not be the easiest thing to do especially when you’ve been hurt, but it’s essential (to your spiritual, physical and emotional health) to learn how to forgive biblically. As imperfect people, we take our sins to our flawless God to make us new. Christ sacrificed Himself so that we may be reconciled for our sin. Before Jesus went up on the cross and killed sin, we had to perform ritualistic acts to be cleansed for our sins. Our sinful nature separated us from God. But through reconciliation, a relationship with God through Christ is now possible. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean so that you can build relationships and love without constraint. Loving without forgiveness is impossible. Forgiveness burns the bridge between two sinners and gives way for a patient, kind, hopeful, not easily angered and no record of wrongs type of love.
Remember we love because He loved us first. If you have not yet experienced the perfect love of God, maybe you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. We can’t love another without understanding love and loving God himself. Perhaps after reading this post, you want to feel the love that God has for you. The amazing thing about God is that He wants us to experience Him in His entirety. He gives us an open invitation to live for Him and bask in His love. As long as you have breath, it’s never too late to accept Christ in your life.
Romans 10:9-10 says “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Believe with your whole heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you’ll be saved. A life with Christ is the best life to live. I pray that you experience the fullness of God’s love for you and give that same love to your neighbors.