How do you love?
Jesus’ love was not simply confined to the words he spoke or questions he asked. Rather, his love extended to the dinner tables he sat around, the people he invited into the kingdom and the compassion he displayed through his actions. We are challenged to love in this way too…
1 John 3:
‘…let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth.’
1. Physical work. Lend a hand to people who need practical help-this goes a long way. If someone is moving house, how can you help? Could you paint a room? Cut their lawn? Think about who you could help (especially those older than us who maybe need it more) and take the first step.
2. Overlook an offence. Forgiveness is an act of love. It is hard sometimes, but we are commanded to do it. “Whoever would foster love covers over an offence, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9.
3. Pray. It’s easy to say ‘I’m praying for you’ but remember to do it! God wants you to bring everything to him in prayer. Bringing others to him in prayer is an amazing way to show your love for others - what better way to show love than to bring their needs and concerns before our heavenly Father!
4. Show your family you love them. Saying ’I love my family’ can be very different than showing how much you love your family. There was a time in my life where I gave my family my ‘sloppy seconds’ - often moody, selfish or lazy. I don’t think Jesus would have treated his family like that. Think of way you can demonstrate your love to your family – say thanks; offer to help with something; empty the bin (without being asked)!
5. Food. I know someone who is continually cooking and baking for others. I love these kinds of people. I prefer stopping at Tesco and buying someone their favourite food (to stop the kitchen going up in flames). Whichever you prefer, generosity through food can really encourage people and show how much you care.
6. Check in with friends. Support your friends through the ups and down; be available; keep in contact; be reliable: ask how they are; talk about scriptures; enjoy life together; be open and frank about your struggles.
7. Encourage. When you do check in with your friends, encourage them. Why not write a note of encouragement or tell them how thankful you are for them? Be a ‘Barnabas’ to them -tell them they are doing a great job; tell them you can see God working in their life. We all need encouragement and guess what? We are called to do it (I Thessalonians 5:11).
8. Compassion. Think of ways we could help those in greatest need. Is there anyone you or your family can help financially? Is there anyone you know who has lost their job? Is there anyone you could visit in hospital? Matthew 25:42.
9. Serve. Get involved in your local church. Think about what your gifts and skills are then, decide how you could serve. Help with the kids programs, play or sing in the worship team or serve tea and coffee? I’ve made the mistake of sitting on the sidelines thinking ‘God won’t use me, he’ll use other more talented people’. Look through your Bible and be reminded of all the people God has used - normal people who felt unqualified! God can and will use you for His glory, even if it seems scary. Don’t sit on the sidelines,, run onto the pitch.
10. Listen. James 1:19 says we are to be ‘quick to listen and slow to speak’. Don’t underestimate the importance of listening - even if you feel like you have nothing to offer, you can always listen.
We will never be able to do this by ourselves. We don’t need to as we have the Holy Spirit with us and through him Christ will make his home in our hearts as we trust in him - our roots will grow down into God’s love and keep us strong (Ephesians 3:17). Having received God’s love, and by being rooted in him, we will then be able to love others.
The ultimate act of love was Jesus dying for our sin on the cross.