40 Days of Community #2: Because God Commands It

img_7441This new series aligns with the 40 Days of Community program which Clayton Church is pursuing as a church-wide initiative.

Today’s point to ponder is that “Love is an act of the will.” The key bible verse is from John 13:34:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

The question to consider is:

How can you show the selfless love of Christ to an unlovable person in your life today?

I have previously blogged on this precise bible verse as part of the 2015 Memory Verse writing series.

Many people can often be considered hard to love or “unlovable”, but the challenge remains open on how we can love them. It may be their personality, attitude, actions or words that makes them hard to love. Whilst it is a generic teaching, it is still highly relevant to be mindful that it is only by God’s grace that we can receive His love. Technically in the eyes of God, who is Holy and righteous, we are unlovable yet He loves us so much that John 3:16 should ring loud and clear in our minds: God loves us so much that He sent and sacrificed His son on the cross for our sins.

Therefore, whe I start to think that the challenge is too hard or not possible, I remind myself that whoever I find hard to love with the love of Christ deserves God’s love just as much as I do. If I can accept that God loves me and that through His grace I can be deserving of it, then why should it be so much harder for me to love my fellow brother or sister?

This attitude is key and is ultimately God centered in that it is our focus on Him that enables us to also apply His standard of love for all. As crazy as it sounds, the worst criminals who have committed crimes against the innocent and humanity throughout history – Jesus died on the cross for them and their sins too.

Practical ways to demonstrate and show the love of Christ comes in different forms to different people. This is where I would like to draw upon the teachings of the five love languages of love that Gary Chapman has written about:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of service
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Quality time
  5. Physical touch

Everyone has their own set of primary love languages so the trick is to understanding people and how best to speak their love language(s) so that we can fill up each other’s love tanks, which is part of the terminology Gary Chapman uses.

For me personally, I know my two primary love languages are quality time and acts of service. Typically, but not all the time, we live out how we want to be loved. For me, serving at church and giving of my time as a living sacrifice and offering to God is a big part of how I understand He challenges me to show my love back to him, and thus subconsciously I value that when people do likewise for me.

Depending on the unlovable person, I would want to tailor where possible to their specific needs. I know some people really appreciate a good heart-felt gift whereas other people want to spend quality time together. At the end of the day, demonstrating love for a person is more about that person that us as the giver or person providing the love. The reality that love is an act and conscious choice reflects this mind shift and attitude required of all of us in living out a life where Christ is the centre and source of our loving selfless ways.