CHRIST LIKE LOVE

What does “love” look like?

The problem with discussions of love in most Christian circles is that “love” is too often undefined.

I would assert that biblical love is Christlike love. Or, as Paul states:

with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

“For our sake, He (Heavenly Father) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus, of course, demonstrated what this love looks like when He went to the cross. Consequently, a person who is transformed by biblical love is a person that consistently lays down one’s life for others.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,Philippians 2:5-9

Biblical love surrenders power for the sake of the other

Christ’s display of this kind of love on the cross also demonstrates what true power looks like. Christian power, in other words, is loving the other so much that one is willing and prepared to die for the other.

This means that in the kingdom of God power is manifested in love—self-sacrificing love! This kind of power stands in stark contrast to the way power works in the world.

LOVE OF GOD NEVER CEASES

All of God’s promises are great and there are so many we will never exhaust them. But the following verse is such comfort it is worth putting it up somewhere to remind you. It is a popular verse so perhaps you have already done so.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

POWER IN KINDNESS AND LOVE

Oscar Amaechina is president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, a group that seeks to take the Gospel and the love of Christ to African towns where people have never heard about Jesus and to make them realize that His return is imminent. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to evangelize the African continent in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Amaechina told The Christian Post recently about a group of people he once encountered on a challenging mission field in Nigeria.

“We were ministering to people, and some people came to kill us. They confessed that they were there to kill us,” he said. “We saw them with their guns and machetes, and we believed that that was our last breath.”

Amaechina and those with him assumed they would face almost certain death — but then something incredible happened.

Rather than cower, beg, or panic, he and his fellow missionaries decided to do a kind act for the assailants. They provided them with food and resources, and it changed absolutely everything.

“We gave them rice, gave them spaghetti, gave them cream and soup … and they moved away from us,” he told The Post. “They returned, and one of their leaders spoke to us through an interpreter and said, ‘We were here to kill you. Since we are poor, no one has ever given us gifts, but because of these gifts, we want to become Christians.’”

So, not only did Amaechina and the group secure their survival, but they also saw those who came to kill them experience heart change and transformation. He said he “couldn’t believe it.”

“We led them to Christ. It was wonderful, it was awesome, and it was an eye-opener,” he said. “Since that day, we have never resisted showing kindness. There’s power in kindness and love. And that is what we believe in ministry.”

Amaechina’s story is a powerful reminder of the life change that is possible when Christians live out Jesus’ command to “love God and love others.”

THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF LOVE

The Bible reveals that the essence of God Himself is equated with love, meaning quite simply that genuine love is not known apart from God.

Paul reveals the ultimate expression of God’s love in these verses.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?Romans 8:32

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

Our God has not only expressed His love for us verbally but expressed it in action in a profound way. The Father by sending His Son. The Son by taking on mortality and dying for us. The Spirit by coming to indwell each believer to enable us to live the Christian life. In perfect Trinitarian unity the Godhead expresses His love for us.

IS YOUR LOVE ABOUNDING MORE AND MORE?

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Philippians 1:9-11

Christian growth is built on the foundation of God’s love. This love is the sacrificial love that God showed when He gave His Son to atone for our sins. It is the same love Jesus showed when He went to the Cross on our behalf. It is a sacrificial and giving love. To enable us (believers) to share this love with others God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirits.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

A lamp requires oil to function. Our Spirit was always meant to be the vessel for the Holy Spirit. At the Fall, the Holy Spirit departed from Adam and Eve. They died spiritually then, their bodies died almost 900 years later.

Notice also that Paul prayed not only for abounding love but discerning love. The heart and mind need to work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment. This a major mark of maturity and evidence of the fruit of the Spirit.

As well, Paul prays that our love may abound with knowledge particularly of God’s Word that we may have spiritual wisdom and discernment. Only then will we be able to walk pure and blameless. To approve the things that matter, to decide the priorities, to spend time on those things that have eternal consequences, to do good works – to live eternal now.

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WHAT COMPELS YOU?

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again2 Corinthians 5:14-15; NIV

Christ died for us, we must no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ Jesus, and let his love flow through us to others. Will we respond as vessels for God’s love in the present Coronavirus context? Let’s step up, not down, as God’s new normal for us is what it has always been for Jesus’ church in the Spirit—engage with all those Jesus connects us, our family, our church family, our workplace and our community.

The following reflection highlights the way one pastor and church, Mark Nicklas and his community Beaverton Foursquare, are stepping up and participating in the triune God’s normative mission in the face of the Coronavirus.

They are partnering with other churches, the school across the street, and civic authorities. They understand that we are all in it together. They clearly comprehend that this is no place or time to be lone rangers. We need to work together in solidarity. This pandemic truly affects us all.

We are called to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), Mark highlights that the love of Christ is to compel us, like it did Paul and his ministry team. Mark says, “Love is lapped up wherever it is spilled.” God’s love is lavish, so it never runs out. Since Christ died for us, we must no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit guide and direct our every step in love.

Are you living your life with eternity in view? The following scripture is tough but it is true.

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 19:21-23

OBEDIENCE AND LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

These interviews and testimonies will help you to acknowledge the necessary actions we need to take to disciple and make a difference in other peoples lives. There is 6 minutes of introductory music so you can do something else while you listen to the delightful music but the testimonies that follow are worth the wait. The TLR movement is being used by God mightily to bring many into God’s Kingdom. The healings and the miracles demonstrate that the power is back in the church as disciples move out into the marketplace totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do ministry. For me in Australia it was wonderful to learn what God is doing in Eastern Europe. It is wonderful to see how God was moving in wonderful ways so it was obvious God was doing the work. His children were just doing His will. The testimony of the couple Abraham and Annemarie Levy is powerful. You must listen to them on “love”, Abraham makes three important observations of being a disciple that stand out: “You cannot follow Jesus without sacrifice”, “You must deliberately bury your own life”, “The flesh will always war against the spirit”, tough but exciting when you learn what God has done and is doing with their lives. If you live in Poland make sure you connect with this couple.

WHAT’S GOD GOING TO DO THROUGH ME?

Tony Hale recently gave an interview about his approach to comedy, art and faith. During that interview, he shared about how he initially came to Hollywood as a young Christian with grand ideas—”What’s God going to do through me?”—only to realise that the person who truly needed to change and grow was himself. Listen to his testimony in this video. In this 11 minute interview, Tony reveals some deep and important truths. Truths I needed to be reminded of, and perhaps you do too. Let me know if it was worth your time.