LOVE - Advent Week 3
Updated: Dec 24, 2020
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35
It is only when we begin to understand the Love of God that we start to fathom the depths of this command. In fact, the more we experience God’s love in our lives, the more we understand how difficult this command truly is.
“A new command I give you: Love one another.” For those who might have been a little too self-righteous (which is of course to say self-righteous at all) these words would have stung. They would have believed that they were already loving one another. However, why would Jesus tell you to do something unless you aren't doing it, or aren't doing it well enough.
I remember my drill sergeant coming to inspect my cleaning. I and others had been tasked with cleaning the barracks. After hours of sweeping, scrubbing, mopping, etc., the drill sergeant returned. After slowly walking once around the barracks he yelled, “I thought I told you to clean this barracks!” A fellow soldier replied, “We did.” The drill sergeant got quiet, looked around at the area we had been cleaning for hours, and then back to that soldier and said, “No. You didn’t.” That stung. After all the work we had done, he looked at it as if we had done nothing at all.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus here gives his standard for what it means to “love one another.”
The other soldiers and I thought we know our drill sergeant’s standard. We did not.
As Christians, we need to understand the standard of love that Jesus is calling us to live out. This is not the reasonable person’s standard of Love. This is not a selfish standard of Love. This is not a temporary standard of Love. Jesus calls us to a standard of Perfect Love. Christ’s Love for us is the Perfect Love of the everlasting God who is Love.
How can we attain this perfection? The only example that we have that demonstrates this kind of Love was born on Christmas morning. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son”. The God who is Love came to us that day. He demonstrated that Love while he was here. He was lifted up in that Love to die for us. And He sent the Holy Spirit to reside in us, and give us the greatest spiritual gift of all: “now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” - Jesus is The Way. He is the only way to attain this perfection. No matter how hard we try, we cannot love as he calls us to love. There is no other way to Perfect Love than through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is an oft-repeated saying amongst Christians: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.
Christ doesn’t call us to love others with a perfect love because we are equipped to do so. He calls us to love others as he loves us, because he has equipped us with the Holy Spirit.
As God’s love was demonstrated on Christmas day, let us, empowered by the Holy Spirit, endeavor to love others likewise.