I have made it a priority to study about love in the Word of God. Getting a revelation about how much God loves me and learning to receive His love has been life-changing for me. It's been the key to being able to really enjoy my life because when I received God's love, then I could love others.
I've discovered that the best way—the only way—you can have a happy, powerful life is to get your mind off yourself and do something for someone else. Helping people, being a blessing and adding value to other people's lives is what it means to walk in love and follow the example of Jesus.
Ephesians 5:2a (NLT) says, "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us." Jesus—our perfect and holy Savior—gave His life for us, took all of our sin upon Himself and shed His blood so we could have a personal relationship with Him and become the righteousness of God. That was His gift to us. And once we experience the gift of salvation, our gift to God is how we live our lives.
Jesus says in John 13:34b, "Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." If we will learn how to follow this one commandment, everything else in our lives will fall into place. Because we can only become everything we're created to be when we live a life filled with God's love.
Be a Good Samaritan
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to demonstrate what it means to love God and your neighbor as yourself. In verses 30-37, we read that a man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho when "he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road."
A priest and a Levite both passed by him and neither stopped to help. Verse 33 says, "Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him." Notice that he "felt compassion" for this man and he was moved to do something to help him.
He dressed his wounds and took him to an inn where he could get the care he needed. He paid the innkeeper and told him, "Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here."
There are a few things I want you to notice here. First, the Samaritan was traveling the road and was probably going somewhere he needed to be; he had a plan, but he was willing to stop and help this man even if it meant his plan was interrupted.
Also, he gave his best effort to make sure the man had good care and then paid for him to get it. He was obviously willing to pay whatever it was going to cost, because he told the innkeeper, "If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here." So he was planning to come back and make sure everything the man needed was covered.
This Is Love!
Jesus is showing us in this story what real love looks like. And 1 Corinthians 13 lists the characteristics of God's love: it is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful or rude; it does not demand its own way, is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged. Love rejoices when truth wins out. It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails!
Now, if you're thinking, "There's no way I can live up to this list!" I want to tell you, "Yes, you can!" You can love others like this because as a born-again Christian, you have everything you need to be like Jesus.
It's not always easy because we have to resist the temptation to be selfish, but 1 John 4:4 says that the Spirit of God in us is greater than our enemy. So in Christ, we have the power we need to walk by faith and live a life of love.
It's important to understand that God is not expecting you to be perfect in your love walk or to do it without His help. What He wants is for you to seek Him through prayer and studying the Word, and as you do, lean on Him for the grace to do what He's asking you to do each day.
God is love, so you can rest in the truth that He is patient with you; He's always with you; He believes in you and will not give up on you. And with God's love in your life, you can learn how to live a life of love!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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