A New Commandment
As we began a new Live to Love discipleship group, I asked, “What do you live for?” Surprisingly, everyone in the group of eight remarked that they had never been asked that question. It seems like this is an important question for us to answer. That’s why I thought it helpful to consider seven biblical reasons to rethink what we are living for. Last month I suggested the first reason to make living to love with Jesus your primary purpose in life. That reason is that God is love. If you wish to review the previous Live to Love blogs, you can do so at www.livetolovewithjesus.com/blog/.
After leading His disciples through the Passover meal, Jesus gave them a new commandment. Because of the circumstances surrounding this meal, and since it was His last time to be with His disciples as a group before His trial and crucifixion, this new commandment is worthy of our attention and consideration. It’s a second reason why we should rethink what we live for and become intentional about living to love with Jesus.
Reason #2: Living to love is commanded by Jesus.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). A disciple is a learner. A disciple of Jesus is one who takes His teaching and intentionally practices it while teaching it to others. I don’t think God can make it any clearer. Jesus commanded His disciples to love one another, and then before He ascended to heaven, commissioned them to make disciples of the nations by teaching them what He had taught and commanded them. He didn’t send them out to live to love in their own strength. No, He said, “I will be with you to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). What greater promise could He give them than to be with them so they could know Him and love with Him? That call and promise haven’t changed! God sent Him to lay down His life to love. Jesus calls all of His followers to lay down their lives to love. He calls them to take up their crosses—die to selfish living, and live totally surrendered to Him so He can love through them. Jesus said, “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). The church in the western world would be different than it is if we faithfully gave a full gospel call. If we didn’t get the call to surrender self to God—die to personal dreams, self-ambitions, and to the ways of the world, and if we didn’t hear the promise that He would instill His life in us so we could take His love to our nation, then we need to rethink who we are, where we are going, and what we live for.
If we have been loved by God, then we are responsible to obey this command as much as His disciples were responsible, and as much as we must obey any other command. Peter described the salvation of God when he wrote to those “who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Peter 1:1-2). Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Only those who are obedient believe, and only those who believe are obedient. Faith is only real when there is obedience.” Why rethink what you live for and purpose to live to love with Him? Because Jesus has commanded you to love with Him, and you want to obey Him.
Living to love with Jesus out of obedience isn’t burdensome. It’s a privilege! We ought to wake up each morning, excited about getting to express His love, the love we have personally experienced, to those He puts in our paths. I hope the first two reasons to live to love with Jesus resonate with you. God is love, and He has commanded us to love as we’ve been loved by Him. Beloved, let us live to love with Jesus for His joy.
PASS THE BLOG ON TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
If you have found the Live to Love blog to be a source of encouragement to you in your walk with the Lord, please pass it on to your friends and family. In doing so, you’ll be stimulating “one another to love and good works” as it says in Hebrews 10:24. Thank you for participating with me in calling God’s people to live to love with Jesus and make disciples who do the same.