Love is something often talked about in today’s culture. There are countless love songs played on the radio each day. Many magazines claim on their covers to contain the magic formula for lasting love. The daily news often contains stories of the latest love interests of the rich and famous.
Most of this is meaningless when we compare these definitions of love to those of Scripture. While references to love constantly surround us, more often than not, it is not the type of love Jesus shows us and requires of us each day.
In John 13:34, shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus tells His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” What type of love was Jesus speaking of here? Not the type of fickle love displayed in the media each day. No, He was speaking of a sacrificial love, the love that He has for us. He loved us so much that He gave up His own life so that we may live eternally.
He goes on to say in John 13:35: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This sounds so simple, yet it is profound. It is easy for us to love those we hold most dear, our spouse, our children, parents and our closest friends. But how easy is it to love the person who cuts you off on the highway? How easy is it to love the telemarketer who calls during dinner? Or how often do you show love to your co-worker with whom you constantly disagree?
Those closest to us are not only the easiest to love, they also know of our faith in Christ. The stranger on the street does not. We must show the love of Jesus to everyone that we come into contact with each and every day. Jesus does not just consider this a nice idea, He commands us to do so. While Jesus endured the ultimate sacrifice — His own life — there are many smaller things that we are called to sacrifice for others, in order to show our love for them.
Each night when I pray before I sleep, one of my first prayers is that the love of Jesus may shine through me each day. The reason for this prayer is because this is a difficult task. Without the Lord’s help, it is impossible. I encourage you to examine your life, to consider, are you striving to love others as Jesus loves us? It is a daily struggle, but a daily necessity. May the love of Jesus shine through you each and every day.