Love like Jesus: Are you showing Christ-like compassion to the difficult-to-love?
Article By Geneva Wyatt // EEW Magazine Spiritual
When we think of love, we think of Hallmark cards, chocolates, flowers, hugs and kisses, and sweet moments shared with those we cherish.
But when the Bible speaks of love, a different picture emerges that includes loving the difficult-to-love and being kind to those who are not kind to you. Living out the biblical standard of love is impossible in our flesh, for it is a work of the Spirit of God.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22, and a tree is known by the fruit it bears (Luke 6:43-45). Are your tree branches bare or can the love-starved receive nourishment from you? In John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
It is impossible to be a true follower of Christ and shine His light in the world while being toxic, mean-spirited, selfish, bitter, resentful, vengeful, and unloving. Unfortunately, many people live according to the flesh and end up displaying attributes that go against biblical standards. In order to avoid that same pitfall, develop a solid relationship with God; be purified by His word; commune with the Holy Spirit on a regular basis; and fellowship with other believers who are serious about growing in their faith.
It won’t be easy
Being focused on your spiritual growth is necessary, because no matter how Spirit-filled you are, there are some people that will work your last good nerve. When you see them coming, your flesh will recoil, and you will want to walk the other way, or even lash out. That’s human nature. Our flesh isn’t sanctified. It produces wrath, envy, hatred and violence according to Galatians 5:19-21.
Thankfully, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, the same power that raised Him from the dead is alive in us (Romans 8:11) and we are no longer slaves to the flesh. Your heart and mind is renewed by the spirit of God.
Christ empowers you
Christ’s power empowers you to do what you cannot do on your own. Without His help, you would constantly retaliate and match others’ negativity. But when you yield to God and walk in the spirit, Galatians 5:16 says you won’t gratify the cravings of your sinful nature. You’ll be able to extend grace to others that don’t deserve it, just as Jesus has extended His unmerited and limitless grace to you.
Flesh says love those that treat you right. But Luke 6:32 says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Flesh says help those that are worthy in your eyes. But Proverbs 25:21 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”
Win them with love
Heaping coals of fire on your enemy’s head means your actions will make them uncomfortable, and could lead to them feeling remorseful about their negative behavior. Being kind and loving could potentially win them to Christ. An added bonus is, there is a Heavenly reward for doing this!
Whether someone deserves it or not, ask God to help you love and forgive them. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says love does not “dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
This is what Christ-like love looks like. Be sure the difficult-to-love see it operating through you.
Prayer: God, I am committed to being example of Your love. Please help me grow in this area so others will know that I am Christ’s disciple, and so that I can live a life pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus’ name, Amen.