One of the things I learned from Brother Lawrence’s wonderful little book, “The Practice of the Presence of God”, is that any action which is devoid of love is worth little in the Kingdom of God. Love is the very essence of who God is. When you subtract love from any situation you are left with Godlessness. Where God is, there is love.
Paul wrote in his letter to the church of Corinth no matter what else we might possess, no matter what skills or talents we have, if we don’t have love, we have nothing (I Corinthians 13). No amount of anything equals anything without love. When we love, we honor God. When we don’t, we dishonor Him. It’s a simple formula. Every follower of Christ yearns to live a life that looks like Jesus. The surest way to accomplish this is to live in love every day.
What does it look like to live in love?
I think, innately, we all know what it looks like to live in love. It’s to show kindness to everyone we encounter, to forgive offenses without hesitation, and to always give more than we take. The easiest person in the world to love is yourself. The hardest person to love is anyone else. We don’t live in love because we are mired in selfishness. To love another requires we give up something, whether it be our time, our money, or our energy. It’s simply easier to not love than it is to love.
Who in your circle of influence needs to be shown love today?
We all have the tendency to take those closest to us for granted. What if, just for a day, we chose not to do so? What if we determined today, we were going to recognize every little thing those closest did for us or meant to us? I think loving your family is often more difficult than loving strangers. Families come with history. We all carry some baggage. Strangers are more of a clean slate. There’s nothing to get past before offering love to them.
Live in Love
If you feel the task to live in love is daunting, try reading the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) for ideas. Do the things Jesus mentions there: give the hungry something to eat and the thirsty something to drink (maybe that looks like paying for the groceries of a stranger or perhaps serving meals in a homeless shelter). Take in a stranger or provide clothing to someone who has none (give to your local shelter or raid your closet and donate half of what’s in there). Visit the sick and those in prison (visit the lonely in a nursing home or a local jail). To live in love is inconvenient, but it is not optional for disciples of Jesus. We are called to look like Him and to walk in His footsteps. Remember, if we aren’t willing to live in love, nothing else we do will matter.