I am the curator and editor of the young adult devotional blog for a large branch of the Protestant church. I enjoy reading the spiritual insights from young people all across the globe. It helps me see the world and many times the Gospel itself, differently. I have many, “Hmm, I’ve never thought of it that way before,” moments.
And I love those moments. It means I’m still growing.
And then, when I turn to mainstream public domain photography for the images to accompany the devotions, I am sometimes quickly reminded how different our views are from that of the secular world.
I searched for, “love,” on a popular (and free) photography website. What came up in the results were pictures of hearts, flowers, and couples. So many couples. But that’s not what love looks like for me. What does love look like for you? Or more importantly, what should love look like for you?
Well, by now you’re surely thinking of the correct Sunday School answer to that question – Jesus. And you would be right. But what specifically about Jesus looks like love? Most people will not be asked to lay down their lives for a friend. So let’s look at some of the ways Jesus loved us leading up to the cross.
1.) Jesus was a teacher.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:6
When you have gained a piece of knowledge, practical or theoretical, if it is important enough you share it with people you care about. It may be as simple as, “Don’t drink that milk, it’s past the expiration date!” or, “The easiest way to get to downtown is by using this road instead of that one.” You get the idea. But it can also be big ways that you share knowledge that shows you care for someone. “I learned this in Sunday school (church, my daily devotion, etc.) and I’d like to share it with you.” “Do you know who Jesus is? I think it’s something we should talk about.”
Any time you share truth with a person or teaching them, you are showing them love just like Jesus did.
2.) Jesus was emotionally intelligent.
“[Love] It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” -1 Corinthians 13:5
When a person embarrasses others, only looks out for themselves, are quick to anger, and constantly bring up your past wrongdoings – it’s a sign of immaturity in their emotional development. To love others, you must first learn (and work out) your own emotional problems. When you love someone, you desire to bring the best version of yourself to the relationship. You don’t intentionally do anything to dishonor them, you keep their best interest and the interest of your relationship at the front of your mind. You don’t fly off the handle for no reason at the person you love. Your anger has an appropriate place and you express it in a way that doesn’t hurt you or anyone else. When the person you love hurts you, you don’t bring up all the times in the past that they have wronged you. You live in the moment, and you deal with that instance alone. Let’s face it, love hurts sometimes. We all, unfortunately, hurt each other. But if you make an active decision to love someone, you choose not to let past hurt undermine your relationship. Because let’s be honest, the only person that deserves to read us our list of lifetime sins on a daily basis, chose to die on a cross for us instead.
3.) Jesus was reliable.
“[Love] It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” -1 Corinthians 13:7
Those disciples were always getting into some mess, weren’t they? But they could always count on Jesus to calm the storm, feed the people, or a laundry list of other things. The disciples could always talk to him, and he would listen. Jesus kept the disciples out of harm’s way – even when they didn’t trust he would. His love was bigger than their fear. Jesus always came through for the disciples. (And for all of us for that matter.) He, “shows up,” to our relationship every day without fail. Because He is love, and LOVE NEVER FAILS.
I don’t write this post to discount the sacrifice that was made on the cross. Quite the contrary actually. I am so often enamored with the BIG thing Jesus has done for us that I rarely take the time to appreciate the smaller ways (which are by no means small) that Jesus showed us his love. Even if I didn’t know him as I do now, I would want to be his friend. Who wouldn’t?