Why does it matter to Jesus that we love one another as He loved us? (John 13:34, John 15:12)
Jesus desires that we be like Him. But the end result isn’t only our own sanctification; He wants us to be like Him to grow His body.
God is a God of relationships.
After all, he exists as Father, Son, and Spirit… The Holy One exists as three persons… That’s relationship. He shows us from the core of His character that He values relationships and wants us to value them, too.
Jesus always made time for people: to listen to concerns, heal the sick, comfort the mourning, teach the curious, and even to admonish the hardhearted. He made time.
He was selfless.
In both Matt 14:13-16, and Mark 6:31-37, Jesus had just been told the news of John the Baptist’s beheading. Jesus sought time alone to grieve and time to rest with His disciples. Instead, He was followed by crowds who were hungry for His attention, His teaching, His miracles, and even hungry for food.
So, He stopped to meet the crowd’s needs and modeled selflessness to His disciples. He taught that even when we’re tired, grieving, when life has demanded our attention, or distraction has taken over our minds, we must keep focus on the things that matter most. Loving others.
A Good Question to Ask: What matters most?
Sometimes, I really have to stop and ask myself if I’m being selfless with those He’s placed in my life. Too often, the answer is no. (I have a lot of growing to do before I can claim that I’m like Jesus.)
Do you struggle with selflessness, too? If so, how do we overcome it?
Honestly, I’m not sure we ever completely will. Until our last day on this earth, we’ll be fighting our sin nature. But, rather than give up hope, we need to fight against sin and take up the weapons God has given us to do it. Love is a powerful weapon. Selfless love is what drove Jesus to feed those hungry crowds, die for us, and redeem our lives from the pit.
Selfless love for my family asks, “What matters most?”, and puts their needs above my selfish tendencies.
- gets my little one a glass of milk, even when I’m in the middle of an intricate crochet project
- helps me stay up late to greet my oldest as she comes home from work, even when I’m exhausted
- reminds me to put a smile on my face when my husband comes in after his long commute, even if I’ve had a bad day
- says it’s ok to have that bad day and let it go— no need to burden others with what I can handle myself
- keeps my mouth shut when my teen really just needs me to just be a good listener
- encourages me to pamper my sick and miserable child, even when I have the same virus
You get the idea.
And, yay! for those moments of victory! But there are too many times when, with my actions, I’ve said, “I don’t feel selfless right now. Sorry, not sorry.”
There are times when I don’t get off the couch, don’t put down my phone, don’t stay up and wait, don’t keep my mouth shut, complain instead of smile, and whine selfishly when I’m sick. (And worse, I’m sure!) But, those moments aren’t Kingdom-building. They don’t convey the importance Jesus puts on relationships. They don’t say, “I value you above myself!” (Phil 2:3)
Those failed opportunities don’t teach my children what selfless love looks like so they can show it to the world. They certainly don’t edify my husband or myself.
What’s the remedy? It’s super simple, but so hard to do… the answer of course, is to keep doing love. (That’s what Jesus did!)
It comes down to the heart and discipline. We must pray for God to root out all selfishness in our hearts, then pray for the discipline to actively practice loving one another. It’s definitely a lifelong learning process, and even though (like I mentioned before) we may never love one another perfectly, God has promised us His help. It’s our duty to pursue it and place the utmost importance on it.
And He will help us to love one another well.
What does selfless love look like in your home? Do you struggle with loving selflessly like Jesus? What helps you overcome?