Things I am Learning About Love, part 1

About a year ago, God began to bring to life a new community of faith in our home. I have told many people that the only way to describe how this spiritual family is coming into existence is by the Spirit of God. They are such an amazing group of people and they are teaching so much.

At the heart of who we are is our desire to make disciples of Jesus through learning to love one another as Jesus would love. We believe that what He said in John 13:35 is true, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  I guess you could say that we don’t need a lot of extra stuff, we just need, as a friend of mine said a while back, “to get love right.”  I am definitely in the school of trying to “get love right”, and the more I am in class, the more I realize that I have a long way to go.

A little earlier in John 13, Jesus said something that has really been challenging me as it relates to loving well.

“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.”John 13:14-15

Love as Jesus modeled, is an eyes wide open intentional act of humility for the good of someone else. When Jesus walked into that room, He saw a bunch of dirty feet that needed to be clean. He did not wait for anyone else to clean them. He did not offer an excuse as to why He, the “Lord and Teacher” should not have to do that kind of dirty work. He saw that there was a need and did something. 

He loved.

This reveals a few things to me, about me. 

First, I can be so focused on my own agenda that I don’t see needs that are right in front of my eyes. Jesus was just a few hours away from being arrested and crucified.  He was about to be betrayed. He had a lot going on, to say the least. Yet, He slowed down and turned his gaze towards His friends. For me, with a family and all the activities of life, it is easy to keep my head down and move from one thing to the next. Move fast. Stay active. Conquer the next hill. If we will slow down a little and take our eyes off of ourselves, we will see that there are people right in front of us who need to be shown love.

Second, I can be so focused on my convenience,  that when I do see a need, I choose to do nothing. Love takes sacrifices of time, convenience, energy, and resources. There are times when I  just don’t feel like getting up to get the basin of water to wash feet. So I choose to not move. When I choose not to move, I am choosing not to love.

Third, I can dismiss some needs as too small.   Dirty feet. What’s the big deal? Where is the glory in being in a room with only 12 dirty people and washing their feet? It is much more exciting to get in on the action of “practicing righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.”  The big events make for much better press but the often its the seemingly insignificant acts of love that have the most profound impact. We are never too good to do the small acts of love. 

If what Jesus said is true, and I believe it is, then the family of God never graduates from learning to love one another. There is so much at stake. One person in our little faith family said something like this not long ago, “I used to have a pretty bad impression of God because of all that I have been through.  But then I found a group of people who have really loved me and can now see that He is good.” 

Love one another as Jesus loved. It really matters.

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