How do we love our neighbor? Saying that we should love our neighbor is quite easy but actually doing so is an altogether different prospect. Love requires an attitude or action; an emptying of self; sacrifice and humility. So how do we love our neighbor?
What about our enemy? Jesus said we are to love our enemy; turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and so forth. What does this really mean in our day to day living? It’s never a natural thing to love someone who hates you. Human nature says to attack, defend and crush those who seek to harm you. But, there is Jesus, telling us to do the opposite of what comes natural. How?
One of the great problems with many Christians is the amount of self-reliance in each of us. We rely on self to produce obedience to God. We rely on self as an enabler so we might love. Self never won any spiritual battles and we would do good to remember that it never will. Self is a loser.
Paul told the Galatian church he was crucified with Christ and no longer lived. He spoke of a life in the body but he was dead to all fleshly efforts to live it. His life in the body was now one of faith in Jesus Christ. He was now believing, trusting and depending upon Jesus to live His life through Paul. This may sound a bit far fetched or perhaps even a little hyper-spiritual but it truly is the only way to live the Christian life.
A Christian is someone who has entered into the crucifixion of Jesus so he might enter into the resurrection of Jesus. We are called Christians for a reason; we are “little Christs.” It is no longer we who live but Jesus who lives in and through us. Is this descriptive of your life? Is this how you understand your faith?
Real love is expressed when we let go of legalism and any mix of law and grace in order to embrace the full measure of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is only then that we receive all of God’s power for a changed life. It is as Jesus lives through us that the potential for love happens. Consistent love is only possible in Christ. Are you believing and trusting Christ for your life or depending upon your willpower and determination to achieve “life” apart from any help in the Spirit of Jesus Christ?
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