By Aaron Brown, Crosswalk.com
Every single person on this Earth is a sinner, but that reality does not mean we can’t be more like Jesus. We can.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Despite our broken quality, God has chosen not only to bless us with His son, Jesus, but also gifts that are innate to each one of us.
“Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Having unique gifts allows us to serve God and others in unique ways.
Some people are blessed with gifts such as preaching, writing, singing, communication. Using our gifts on behalf of supporting others is always an expression of love.
No matter how we are blessed, we can use what God has given us to spread Christlike love on this Earth.
Here are five ways broken humans can love like Jesus:
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1. Loving God
And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: ‘Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. – Matthew 22:35-38
The first and most important way that we can all love more like Jesus is holding God as the top priority of our lives. He deserves all the love we can give.
Not only is loving God the greatest commandment, ordered by Jesus, but the Bible makes clear that where we expend much of our thinking and physical energy, is where we are most focused.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21
When our heart rests with God, we can do things like rise early in the morning to go pray in solitude. We will find ourselves more trusting in God in the face of anxiety and depression.
Loving God like Jesus means offering praise in the best and worst moments of life, knowing He is present always.
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2. Loving Others
Our neighbors aren’t just the people who live with or near us. We are to love everyone including our parents, children, significant others, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Yes, even strangers.
In his day, Jesus spent time with the lowest of society. He saw an importance in forming relationships with everyone. How could he share the good news with no one to share it with?
When you look at your social circle, do you see only people who are like-minded, or does your circle include people dissimilar to you?
We spend a lot of time taking care of our own needs: food, finances, home renovations. When was the last time we volunteered to help someone else?
When we admit that all of us have fallen short of God’s glory, then we can start to see one another as equals. Our lowliness in comparison to God’s glory is at least one quality we have in common.
Instead of seeing others as unfit, or too unlike us to make a relationship, we can search harder for the qualities we have in common in an effort to show love to everyone.
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3. Giving Thanks
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Don’t you love to feel appreciated? Honestly, who doesn’t?
Showing gratitude is a great way to show love to people who serve. Even saying thanks to someone who didn’t serve you, but served someone else is a great way to show them acknowledgment for their efforts.
The Bible asks us to give thanks in everything. We are to give thanks to God throughout life, including the good with the bad. And we can appreciate our loved ones, too, whether we are happy or mad with them.
Having appreciation for someone doesn’t mean you overlook their faults. Instead, gratitude acknowledges the person in spite of their flaws.
God has chosen to love and appreciate us despite our sins. Surely we can do that for others.
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4. Charitably Giving Your Time
Charity is another word for love. The first book of Corinthians outlines a perfect example of what love is for Christians. In the great description presented, I want to highlight one particular line.
And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:3
Often times when people hear the word charity, they think of donating money to a church or some other nonprofit organization. This verse lets us know that love is not simply giving things away, especially material items.
Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me!’ ‘How do we rob you?’ you ask. ‘By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions. You are suffering under a curse, yet you—the whole nation—are still robbing me. Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.’” – Malachi 3:8-10
Tithing has become understandably tied to a monetary definition, but money is not the only resource someone can give. Nor is it the most valuable.
Money can be regained. Time cannot. When we give our time to others, we are expressing love by giving something we will never be able to renew.
Charity should involve giving unto others, and the definition of charity should consist of more than just money. The time we spend with someone on their death bed will be invaluably more important than the time in their life we gave them $1,000 dollars.
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5. Forgiving Others
We have to express a lot of forgiveness to be like Jesus. How much, you might wonder? Peter had the same question.
Then Peter approached him and asked, "Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not as many as seven,’"Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven. – Matthew 18:21-22
To love like Jesus means to not focus on a person’s wrongs. If someone has offended you, you are certainly justified in feeling your emotions. The key is to not allow your emotions to cloud your judgment of that person.
Everyone makes mistakes. If we are to accept this quality about ourselves, we should do the same for others.
We are all human and in need of the Lord’s forgiveness.
A Broken Kind Of Love
Since we are not perfect, our attempts to love are sure to miss their mark from time to time. Maybe we will forget to show gratitude. Maybe we will at times feel disconnected from God or from others.
Anger could lead us to not forgive and to not show charity unto others.
Despite the inevitable failures, we can always rise from our mistakes and reattempt a love like Jesus.
If God is always present with us, and patient, then that in itself is motivation for us to keep trying to love.
Our love may never be perfect, but His is. And Jesus is the example of what we can aspire to be.
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