Two Great Reasons Why We Should Love More

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We’ve got a beautiful pure bred black lab named Crimson. She’s jet black so don’t let her name fool you. When we bought her, we lived in a house with a huge yard for Portuguese standards. We had twenty-two fruit trees and were surrounded by vineyards. When Crimson was just a puppy the weather at our house turned awful—just like it does every November. Cold and rainy.

That meant bad news for Crimson. It meant that she never really learned to walk on a leash. Not only that, but sadly, she was kind of like a very sheltered homeschooled dog. She was lacking in the socialization department. She didn’t know how to act around other dogs. When August rolled around, we had to move out of the house with the good yard into a house with basically no yard. We were suddenly faced with a dilemma. We needed to correct two problems—the poor leash habits and the lack of socialization.

We did a terrible job of it. We should have properly trained her when she was younger. We didn’t, and we suffered because of it. She was a terror every time we took her out for a walk. Pretty soon we found out that we had another problem on our hands. Because she didn’t know how to walk on a leash and we were constantly pulling and jerking on her collar, all the muscles in her neck became desensitized. It meant nothing to her when we pulled and jerked on the leash. She barely felt it. Simply trying to direct her one way or another didn’t mover her needle at all.

We as Americans are largely the same way. American believers are no different. We’ve become desensitized.

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Photo Credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via Compfight cc

To love.

Yes, we’re still desensitized to violence and nudity and foul language and drugs and alcohol. But we’ve also become desensitized to love. Love just doesn’t move our needle any more.

We love everything. Wal-Mart. Our wives. College football. Momma’s biscuits. Jesus. Everything.

If we don’t hate it, we love it. There’s no in-between. It’s either one or the other. And with all of this desensitizing, we’ve lost our way when it comes to following the example of the Lord Jesus. We’ve lost our way when it comes to loving Him with all of our heart and soul and strength and mind. We’ve lost our way when it comes to loving our neighbor as our selves. Husbands, we’ve lost our way when it comes to loving our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.

We no longer practice love like it should be practiced. We don’t know how. It’s either that, or we don’t care enough to figure it out.

That word love gets thrown around so much that we’re like Crimson getting jerked hither and yon. We throw the word love around like beanbags in a corn hole tourney.

We’ve been so overexposed to the word love that we’ve forgotten what it really means. We’ve forgotten what love really looks like. We’ll deal with that more in-depth in a few posts, but just as a precursor I’ll say this—love looks like Christ giving Himself for sinners. That’s the gold standard. That’s what we want to attain. 

Like most expats, I complain about Portuguese customs. I make fun of the quirky parts of the culture, the different foods, all that.

However, I’m beginning to think that they’re on to something when it comes to how rarely they use the word love. When it’s used in a portuguese context, it’s got to be in relation to someone very close and very important. They don’t love anything and everything the way Americans do. (Sometimes they take it too far. Sometimes the word is used too infrequently. It’s not uncommon for a husband to tell his wife that he really likes her instead of telling her that he loves her. That’s a little far.)

God’s different though. He is love. Being not only the personification of love but also infinitely wise in all things, He decided to reveal why we should love one another. Besides just loving for love’s sake, God gave us His intentions when it comes to that word, that decision, and that emotion. He had a purpose for commanding us to love each other. In several places, He tells us why we should practice charity. He tells us why we should love one another in the Christian context.

We are part of His family, and families love each other.

So let me give you two God-given reasons why Christians should love more and fuss less. Why we should hug more and hate less. Let me tell you why God said that we needed to have compassion instead of criticizing.

So others will know…

Number one, you need to love, so that others may know that you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus. It’s a matter of identification. There’s no better way for me to show the world that I am a follower of Christ than if I’m actively loving other followers of Christ. Before we get too far down the trail, let’s look at the biblical proof for my supposition.

In the Upper Room Jesus would share one final meal with his closest friends before going out to meet His enemies and submitting to the Father’s will for His life. He wrapped Himself in a towel, took the place of a lowly servant and washed his friends’ tired and dirty feet.

Then they all took their places at the table and began to eat. Judas Iscariot reveals himself as the betrayer. The Master is left with the eleven remaining disciples. There, immediately after Judas leaves, Jesus gives them a new commandment. He says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35

Implicit in the new commandment is the reason why those eleven men were to love each other. By this…through this love it is possible for anyone to know that we are disciples of Christ. For years I’ve said that those outside the church can see and judge whether the church is truly following her Lord based upon the love that exists within the church. And that’s true. People who don’t know Jesus can look at people who do and see His love in them by the love that they show to one another.

However it doesn’t just stop there. This also has an entirely internal application. The church is also able to see its own level of commitment by its level of love for one another. We can evaluate ourselves and our obedience to Christ by our love for the guy who’s sitting next to us on the pew.

The Lord Jesus gave us this verse as one way for us to prove to others that we are His true followers. If we love one another, all men will know that we are Jesus’ disciples. But what happens on the flip side? What will men say if and when we aren’t loving one another? They certainly won’t say that we are disciples of Christ. If we don’t show love to other followers of Jesus, we remove any certainty in the mind of the world that we are actually His disciples.

For your own heart…

Secondly, in 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul gives us another reason to take this commandment seriously. When we love, it doesn’t just affect others. When you have compassion on someone else it affects you too. Our love affects our holiness. Our relationship with man is directly related to our relationship with God.

Paul wrote, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God…” (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

The Lord doesn’t just want us to have a simple, basic love for each other. His desire is that it might grow. He wants us to abound in love. He wants our love to overflow, and He gives us the reason why in verse thirteen. Our love should abound one to another so that our hearts can be established unblameable in holiness before God. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, eventually we will be able to stand before God unashamed. Overflowing in love strengthens your heart. It sets it upon a firm foundation with a specific end in mind—holiness. When you act selflessly and sacrificially, you are being Christ-like. At its core, having a loving attitude is having a holy attitude. Because holiness really isn’t what’s on the outside. It’s got a whole lot more to do with what’s on the inside.

Our compassion has a direct impact on our righteousness. Believe it or not, God is concerned with how we actually treat each other. The book of Hebrews tells it another way, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14)

So please, let the Lord teach you about love today. Let Him work in you so that your heart will be established and so that others will know you’re one of His.

About the Author

Michael Andrzejewski

Michael Andrzejewski is a missionary in western Europe who loves to share his stories. An introvert by nature, he swims upstream while struggling to pastor cross-culturally. Passionate about both the Gospel and football, he constantly searches for really good sushi.

  • Amen. Such a good post, and convicting. I will admit that. Sometimes I get hard towards people. You know? It shouldn’t be that way. Love should be my default all the time. Thanks for this.

    And, oddly enough, I recently read another article on the overuse of the exclamation point. Same sort of reasons. Anyway, I admit, I am guilty of “loving” everything. You make a very good point.