Living Out 'Love as Jesus Loved'
For this year’s June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day, our theme was love. A great theme! Each week for nine weeks I wrote a mini-devotional on love—God’s love for us and how we love our prodigals—and any challenging people in our lives. I posted each of these here on Kindling. Because Jesus said loving like He loved was the main point, I thought it would be worth a small summary.
I need all the help I can get to truly love as Jesus loved.Here are a few gems I learned from this study:
1. God has set the standard for love, lived out by Jesus: Love lays down its life. Beautiful, but impossible for me to live out. So God made it possible:
We love because He loved us first. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. (1 John 4:19) And we love in the power of the Spirit.
2. God’s love is so vast it is beyond our comprehension: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:11)
It includes forgiveness, healing, redemption from the pit, compassion, satisfaction, good things, youth renewed, righteousness, justice, grace and more!
3. In the hard times, fear is pervasive. Yet God makes this freeing promise to us:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...(1 John4:18)
4. The Love Chapter: 1 Corinthians 13. I am always grateful for this description of what God’s love is like. But I am greatly challenged—and again dependent on the Holy Spirit—to live out this kind of love on a daily basis.
Love is: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (4-8)
5. We love that God loves us unconditionally. We are grateful that He loves us no matter what we do or don’t do. Nothing can make Him love us more or less.
But that is how we are to love. The hardest reality for me to embrace is that unconditional love does not require love in return. Because when we love, we want to be loved back. God says: no conditions.
6. Love goes to war. We are in a battle. We have an enemy, and those we love have that same enemy. Our enemy is a liar, a schemer, a roaring lion set on destroying. When we love someone, we must enter the fray with them and for them.
On June 2, 1997, three significant things happened regarding our prodigal.
First, he met Jesus. He was 14 and in a residential program. His house dad, Mike, called to tell us He had received Christ and they had baptized him.
Second, I had the only real vision I have ever had. I could see God above me, with a vat full of something which he was pouring into me. I asked what it was. “It’s my love for Josh. You’re going to need it.”
Third, that night and the two nights following I was in an intense spiritual battle. It seemed that Satan was not happy that Josh—one of his own—had been snatched from his grasp and he was determined to keep Josh from truly following Jesus. For three nights I didn’t sleep. I just prayed for my son.Then God released me from those all-night prayer vigils. But not from fighting for my son. And to this day God’s love flowing through me has me on my knees fighting for him.
I ask the same for you: May God’s love flow through you with grace and power,
What about you? Where are especially challenged to love as Jesus loved?
c2014 Judy Douglass