Updated: Nov 22, 2018
1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
Jesus explained very simply that the way people will know we are His disciples, is if we love one another.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
This love is one that covers his brother’s and sister’s sins (1 Peter 4:8), is quick to forgive (Ephesians 4:32), cries with those who cry and rejoices with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15), hardly notices a wrong (1 Corinthians 13:5) and treats one another with respect.
1 Peter 2:17 Treat everyone with high regard: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
The kind of love Jesus tells us to have for others is the kind He has for us. Jesus showed an exhaustive example of what true love looks like; from small intimate details to the ultimate act of dying on the cross for our sins so we could be saved and have eternal life with Him.
1 John 4:9
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In the world we live in, we have a huge dilemma because human beings naturally are selfish creatures. No one has to teach us to care for ourselves—we do it automatically. Even when you observe infants, you’ll see the selfish ambition emerge when you attempt to teach them to share. We know all too well how to look after number one, making sure we acquire and enjoy the things we take pleasure in.
But when we become a Christian, should we continue to just nurture and serve ourselves, or should our kindness extend to others? The Bible actually has very stern directions regarding this – and when you acknowledge the selfishness of human nature, you understand why.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.
Wow! Nothing can be misinterpreted from this verse. We are to be devoted to one another in love, and not only that, but we should also be outdoing each other in the way we honour others! That's like saying we should be surpassing everyone else in the way we show love, kindness, compassion and gentleness to each other.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
The true definition of love has been redefined by society to mean something short-lived, frivolous, conditional and of low quality. Yet this is not what true love is.
Love is an action.
True love, in all sense of the word, is to give. For God so loved the world that He gave!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
And what God gave was His very best. To love is to give … and not only give, but to sacrifice in order to give.
1 John 4:10
And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
When Jesus saw the rich young ruler, the Bible records that the way Jesus showed His love for this man was by telling him the truth. Jesus gave him what he needed.
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
So when we share the truth with a right heart attitude, we are showing love towards the hearer.
Let me give you an example:
If there was a man drowning in the ocean, what could I do to help him? Now I could throw him some of his favourite food, which he may be able to eat and enjoy temporarily, but it wouldn’t save him from drowning. In order to properly help the man, I would need to throw him a life preserver so he can cling onto it and be dragged to safety.
Love throws a rope.
As believers, who know that redemption is only through Jesus Christ, the way we show love for others through our words is when we share the truth of the gospel with them in its entirety, giving them every opportunity to repent, believe and receive eternal salvation.
We can also share God’s love in a practical way by doing the works that God has prepared ahead of us to do (Ephesians 2:10). When we see someone in need, the way we show love is not by turning the other way and pretending we didn’t see them – it’s by helping them and giving to them.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
What kind of disciples would we be to say we are ambassadors for the Lord, then we choose to ignore those who need our help?
Love cares for others; both physically and spiritually.
This beautiful Scripture below, intricately describes what love is.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
- Love is patient - Longsuffering and enduring, not short-tempered or giving up on someone.
- Love is kind – Caring, thoughtful and considerate, without holding back.
- Love does not envy or boast – There’s no jealousy or resentment within the heart, nor bragging or claiming attention and accolades.
- Love is not arrogant or rude – Instead of pride, humility is displayed with complete courtesy and gentleness.
- Love does not insist on its own way – Never allowing ideas, thoughts or feelings to dominate, this kind of love is shown through the gift of self-sacrifice and being led according to God’s Word.
- Love is not irritable or resentful – It’s not touchy or moody, but calm and of sound mind with self-control. Instead of being easily offended, begrudging or hateful, this love is slow to anger, generous and happy to pardon and overlook an insult.
- Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing – This love refuses to celebrate or support immorality of any kind – knowing the serious implications of sin.
- Love rejoices with the truth – In respecting what is right, this love reveals, observes and praises the truth.
- Love bears & believes all things – It’s willing to take the hit and will bear whatever is necessary, as well as believing all that pertains to godliness.
- Love hopes & endures all things – It is filled with faith because its confidence is in the Lord, therefore this love is willing to endure the entire journey.
- Love never ends – It is a continual, genuine expression that has no end.
Let’s ask the Lord to help us to grow to love as He loves, having a heart to help the hurting, broken, needy and lost. As well as remembering not to neglect our brothers and sisters in Christ, but showing sincere care, compassion and love to them all.
When we genuinely love others, this reflects the love of Christ.
1 John 5:11
And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
-- By Jenny Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.