What the world needs now is love, sweet, love! That’s very true! The Bible says that every law can be summed up on one simple command – Love! (see Galatians 5:14). Even secular psychologists acknowledge our desperate need for love. William Glasser concluded that “From birth to old age, we need to love and be loved. Our health and happiness depend upon both.”
So how do we grow our love for each other? Here are three important steps to really loving those around us.
1. Experience love in your life.
Have you experienced God’s love? Love comes from God. In fact, the Bible says that “God is love!” No one would know love without God. It started with Him! He is the source of love.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love…We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:16,19)
Frankly, it’s hard for me to comprehend – that God, the creator of all the universe, the sustainer of all things, would actually love me. Overwhelming. Amazing.
Christmas proves that God loves us. He came down to us as Emmanuel when we were incapable for reaching out to Him. And he came in the form of a baby, vulnerable and humble.
You and I need to know and experience God’s love for us. It’s only then we can truly love others.
2. Examine love in your life.
How loving are you? If we allow God to really examine our hearts, if we are really honest, it isn’t pretty. “Examine me and test me, Lord; judge my desires and thoughts. Your constant love is my guide…” (Psalm 26:2-3).
We don’t always love as we should. When someone hurts us, the natural human reaction is not to be lovey-dovey back! We can become bitter and even vengeful. The Bible gives this warning, “If you keep on biting and devouring each another, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
Here’s the problem: Every resentment takes up space in your heart. Every resentment saps energy and it demands our attention. Someone put it this way, “It is impossible to fully love in the present while holding on to resentments from the past.” That’s why we are told, “… do not be bitter…be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NCV)
“It is impossible to fully love in the present while holding on to resentments from the past.”
3. Express love in your life.
How are you expressing love? Love is revealed in how we act! Here’s what the Bible says: “Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1John 3:18).
Real love is more than words, it is always expressed in giving of ourselves to others. God is our example. “For God so love the world, that he gave His only Son…” (John 3:16).
Too many people make the mistake of believing that love is a feeling. It isn’t! Love is something you do. In fact, I believe we are to act loving, even when we don’t feel like it. You may ask, if I did that, wouldn’t I be a hypocrite? No, that’s loving by faith. Feelings may follow, but they are never necessary.
BEFORE YOU GO…
This Christmas, love! Draw closer to God and experience his love. Let go of resentments and forgive! Reach out to those who are near you and do something that shows your love! Merry Christmas!