The Key To Loving Others The Way Christ Calls Us To

Hey, y’all! I am pretty pumped today because this is the intro to A Love Worth Living For’s first ever Bible study series! For the last few weeks, the topic of love has been weighing heavily on me in the best possible way. I feel like the Lord has been completely reteaching me what it means to be loved and to love in return. 

So we are going to spend some serious time looking at 1 Corinthians 13 which is home to the infamous love chapter and we're just going to soak in all the wonderfulness that is in that passage. Before we dive into the different aspects of love I first want to share why I believe with all of my heart that it is crucial to understand that we cannot muster up the type of love that we are called to share on our own. We cannot achieve and sustain the type of beautiful love that is displayed for us in 1 Corinthians 13. 

We can, however, receive this perfect love from our Father who is pouring it out on us constantly. We can receive and be filled with His love and from that place of being filled we can overflow and let that love pour out of us and wash over those around us. Most of us believers are not fully aware of just how loved we are. 

Jesus told us this truth multiple time in scripture. In John 13:34 Jesus says 

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. 

This is such a huge task. We all know how hard some people can be to love. We all struggle to be loving and accepting of all the different people that cross our paths in this life. That’s why the “just as I have loved you,” part is so crucial! We can’t produce the kind of love that our unsaved loved ones need. We can't produce the kind of love that sets people free and breaks of generations of bondage and lies. The kind of love that will loose our loved ones from the hold of addictions, sicknesses, poisonous relationships and destructive habits isn’t going to just naturally flow from us.

We have got to understand how much love the Lord has and is constantly showering on us. The verse says “just as I have loved you, go and love others.” We have to spend more time paying better attention to how He has loved us. 

Take earlier in John 13 for an example. This chapter shows us what happened the evening before Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus and all of His disciples gather for a nice dinner. 

[Jesus] rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:4-5 ESV

He just gets up in the middle of dinner and starts washing everyone’s feet. If you are anything like me, you probably would find this situation a little strange especially because I am not a fan of feet. Don’t miss out though on how amazing a moment this was. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way: 

"He disrobed himself, though angels longed to cast the imperial purple about his shoulders. With all things in his hand, he yet took a towel and wiped the disciples' feet.”

I love that image. All of the hosts of heaven are standing there longing to cover Christ in the majestic and royal robes He deserves yet for the sake of us He takes up a towel and shows us what real love looks like. He washes our feet. This was a job designated to the lowest servant on the totem pole. The lowest ranking servant in a household would wash the feel of every guest that came in.

This was customary because back in these days the traveling the dusty roads in the sandals they wore would leave their feet filthy. At these nice dinners, they knelt on pillows at tables that were close to the ground with their feet behind them. A room full of dirty feet would have been an issue at a nice dinner. In household such as the one they were likely at there probably weren’t servants to do such foot washing. 

If you read about this same evening in Luke 23, you’ll learn that the disciples showed up bickering about which among them was the bigger deal. It’s no wonder none of them volunteered to wash everyone’s feet. Now I am sure that most of them would have fallen over themselves for the opportunity to wash Jesus’ feet. Who wouldn't right? I would gladly kneel down and wash the feet of my Savior.  But the rest of the group? No thanks. Who could blame them? 12 men, that I am already in competition with? That's 24 more feet...and then I am supposed to eat?! That why Jesus act is so amazing. 

This dinner took place the evening before His crucifixion. The chapter said He knew what was coming. He knew all His disciples would flee and abandon Him. He knew one among them would betray Him in the worst way. He was aware of the pain and torture that was to come. He knew the moment was coming where He would be completely abandoned by everyone, even His own Father would have to look away.

Nevertheless, He got up during dinner, He put aside His garment, put on a towel and He humbled Himself, showing who truly was the greatest among them and He washed and dried each disciple's feet. He knew all that was coming but His love didn't skip a single beat. There was no hesitation. No stopping the count the cost. 

This is such an amazing and beautiful picture of Jesus’s kind of love. 

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 fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

This kind of love doesn’t naturally come from within us but it is available to us. God is pouring it out on us every second of every minute of every day. He is loving. When we rest in that love and receive that love we can overflow and flood our little worlds with a love that transforms, sustains and never runs dry. 

Jesus told us how! Remember He said, “Just as I have loved you, just as I have served you, just as I have humbled myself and put you first, just as I have washed your feet, go and do the same to others.” You have got to live super aware of how loved you are in order to share that love with the world.

Another favorite of mine is Luke 7:47 which says, 

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little." 

This is the grand finale to an interesting story. Jesus is having a similar dinner at the house of a pharisee. Remember a pharisee would have been a major religious leader. Think Deacon Jones or Sister Joanna that just made the elder board. They were important people. Everyone's enjoying dinner and in walks Pinky, a well-known woman with a sketchy reputation. (For the record none of these people are real, I’m just trying to make this more real for you…how’s that going?) 

This woman comes in knowing everyone in this crowd knows of all her sins and mistakes. Everyone knows who she is and what she’s done. Nevertheless, this woman falls at Jesus’ feet and begins to weep. She uses her tears to wash His feet and her hair to dry them. She anoints His feet with fancy perfume. She is abandoned in her love for Him. 

The religious man does what religious folks tend to do. He judges. Jesus hears His silent judgments and tells the man that this woman pouring herself out at His feet has committed many sins but all of them are forgiven and that is why she is overflowing with love. He also says that the person who is forgiven only a little will only have a little love to share.

How aware are you today of all that you’ve been forgiven of? You know it’s no secret? If you need a reminder, you can ask God and He will remind you. How aware are you of all that He’s done for you? Think back! Allow yourself to be overwhelmed with how loving and kind He has been in your life. Let it fill your heart and soul and then you can overflow. 

In the weeks to come, we are going to look at all the different ways God loves us and all the ways we can go forward and love others. I hope you will stay tuned and plugged in and that we can enjoy this journey together! Make sure that you are on our mailing list and you’ll get encouragement just like this as well as recaps of anything you may have missed on the blog each week. We also have a new eBook called Overcome that you'll receive free just by signing up.

I want to hear from you guys! What is your favorite love related verse? What is something big that the Lord has done for you?! We can keep the discussion going in the comments below! Plus if you are into this post, would you share it with your friends and followers? 

I am forever thankful for each and every one of you. 

Be blessed and be kind,