I have just started a new book called Loving The Way Jesus Loves. If you were wondering why a lot of my Weekly Faith posts revolve around love, it’s because I know I am nowhere close to loving perfectly or being a really loving person and think that’s a really important part of being a follower of Christ, not to mention the toughest part. If you reach deep down, you can probably admit you don’t love perfectly either.
I’ve decided to make some of my Weekly Faiths about this book as I read it. I’ll be sharing the sentences, paragraphs, or thoughts that stood out to me. May it help us all understand our flaws in loving and as a result, be able to love better and closer to the way Jesus loves us.
Chapter 1 – Nothing Without Love
- If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:3
- And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
- There is nothing I need more in my life than more of the love of Jesus.
- Everywhere I go, and in every relationship I have in life, I need more of the love of Jesus.
- Are you loving the way Jesus loves? Or do you need more of his love in your life–more love for God and for other people?
- Paul wrote about love in Corinthians chapter 13 not to prepare people for marriage, but to show a church full of self-centered Christians that there is a better way to live–not just on your wedding day but every day for the rest of your life. The “Love Chapter” is not for lovers primarily, but for all the loveless people in the church who think that their way of talking about God, worshiping God, serving God, or giving to God is better than everyone else’s.
- Rather than being encouraged about love, 1 Corinthians 13 sets the standard for love we should know we can never meet. Start with verse 4 and insert your own name into the passage every time you see the word “love”:
“Amanda is patient and kind; Amanda does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Amanda bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Amanda never fails.”
You will then feel not very loving at all afterward.
- No one can hear the gospel from the life of a loveless Christian. To bring the metaphor up to date, “If I network for the gospel but have not love, I am only a noisy blog or a meaningless tweet.”
- No one cares how much we know unless they also know how much we care.
- By the grace of God, faith is able to accomplish the impossible. But even that kind of faith is nothing without love.
- No matter what God has given us and no matter what we have done for God, it means nothing without love.
- We are so selfish that it is even possible for us to do something that looks like it is for someone else when it is really for us–to enhance our own reputation or feed our satisfaction with ourselves.
- The Scripture says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Since this is true, the only way for us to become more loving is to have more of the love of Jesus.
- None of us is good enough to be saved by the good things we do. No one is good. Only God is perfectly good.
- Considering the commandments from a slightly different perspective, they are not just the laws of God, but they also display the love that God demands. (i.e. When God says “Do not murder,” he is telling us to love our neighbors by protecting their lives.)
- We always want to place limits on our love. We are ready to give, but only when we have something left over. We are willing to care as long as it isn’t too inconvenient. We are able to love provided that people love us back.
- The rich young man in Mark 10 is an example of someone who thought he know how to love. One of the hardest people to love is a self-righteous sinner who thinks that he has his spiritual act together, or a know-it-all. Most of us would not have liked this man at all. But Jesus loved him. This detail gives us a glimpse of the love that Jesus has for us. We are not any more lovable than the man who thought he knew how to love. But Jesus still looks at us with a heart of love. He helps us see that we are not the lovers that we think we are. But he does not stop there. By his death on the cross he offers forgiveness to our loveless hearts. Then he sends us the Holy Spirit so that we can start to love the way that he loves.
- Jesus does nothing without love.
- Earlier, we saw how ridiculous the Love Chapter sounds when we fill in the blanks with our own names. It reads very differently when we put Jesus in the picture instead:
“Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails.”
- Jesus is everything that I am not.
- The love of Jesus is so big that he loves even me.
- Because he loves me, he has promised to save me, to forgive me and change me. We are nothing without love. But when we know Jesus, who does nothing without love, he will help us love the way that he loves.
- Try to confess that you are not the lover you ought to be and ask Jesus to change your heart. Say something like this:
“Jesus, you are everything that I am not. You are pure love, and I am only the loveless sinner that you always knew I would be. But in your perfect love, I pray that you would forgive my hateful sins and teach my loveless heart to love the way that you love.”
I really enjoyed this first chapter. It made me feel pretty convicted about the way I love others and I think it’s important that it made me understand that I don’t love perfectly and admit to it. Let me know in the comments how it made you feel and I hope you continue on this journey of exploring this book with me 🙂