Be an Example In Love

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts this past week as our family faced the challenges of life. It is comforting to know many people are praying and your prayers were felt and appreciated. 

As I reflect on the past weeks events, I note the example of Jesus in the lives of many friends, family and even strangers. The words expressed, the thoughts shared, and the time provided indicate a depth of love that only flows from heaven. As followers of God, this is our aim isn’t it? To look like, sound like and think like Jesus. We should strive to be an example as we follow Jesus … the example. 

Have you ever attempted to describe what love means in one word? It is a good exercise but difficult to sum up in one accurate word. The Bible describes love in many multiple word statements found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

 “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 Is this what your love looks like? This is that standard that our love should strive to attain. We may not be perfect but we can become more like the “perfect one” as we allow God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Love, to impact and transform our heart, soul and mind. As God-followers we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus. Remember, we have not been saved “from” something but “to” something and that is to love like Jesus and be an example of Him on the earth.

Be an Example in the way you love others

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

1 Timothy 4:12-16

How to be an example in love

Paul’s words to Timothy are a reminder to focus life on what matters. Love matters. We are to be an example in many things and love is one. Paul encourages Timothy to “meditate” on the need to be an example in love and to give focus entirely on living as an example.

I find a great pattern and instruction for life in Paul’s coaching of Timothy. First, he teaches what is important. Love is important. Being an example is important. Next, he shares how. First, don’t neglect the work God has started in you. Second, meditate on what God is impressing and teaching. Third, give yourself to the coaching of God and what He is trying to do in and through you. Fourth, be careful or “take heed” of your life and to the standard of God’s word. Fifth, continue with perseverance in living for Jesus and through Jesus. I find these truths shared by Paul an incredible message of hope, purpose and clarity.

To live love we must surrender to God completely and allow His work to come through in all we do, say and think. Our love, human love, is not enough. It is a start but it will fail. Why? Human love is selfish. God’s love is selfless. God does not love to get something in return. He loves with no strings attached. He loves because that is who He is. We, in Him, are to be the same.

Friend, this week focus on love. Focus on being an example in love by living out 1 Corinthians 13 as best that you are able and under the grace God provides. Remember, you are His tool upon the earth to share love and bring His Kingdom to life. He is love. He desires that we “be” love to one another for His cause and Kingdom. You are the love someone needs. Will you be “love”?

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Mother Teresa