Summary: Loving our neighbor goes way beyond just being polite to them. Here is a look at the 3 phases of loving your neighbor.
The call to love
John 21: 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
How do we define love?
A feeling of affection? A sense of extreme like?
Webster’s Love- 1. Profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, especially when based on sexual attraction. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection. 3. Affectionate concern for the well-being of others: Love of one’s neighbor. 4. The benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
The best way we can define love is by our actions.
Our greatest challenge is to have, live, and show the love of Christ. To do that, we must be like Christ.
*from Max Lucado’s book “Just Like Jesus”
“What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you?
What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes his boss, your mother becomes his mother, your pains become his pains? With one exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn’t change. Your circumstances don’t change. Your schedule isn’t altered. Your problems aren’t solved. Only one change occurs.
What if, for one day and one night, Jesus lives your life with his heart? Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ. His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His love directs your behavior.
What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family – would they see something new? Your coworkers – would they sense a difference? What about the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy from Christ’s heart than from yours?
And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better? Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any chance you’d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to traffic delays?…Would you still dread what you are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing?
Would you still do what you had planned to do for the next twenty-four hours? Pause and think about your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus taking over you heart, would anything change?
Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. He wants you to ‘think and act like Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 2:5)…God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”*