|Posted on July 5, 2018 at 11:30 AM|
Jesus asked his disciple a searching question on the night before he was crucified. He asked, "Do you trust me enough to love others the way I do?" He had shocked them by announcing he was leaving them and he wanted them to stay here and love each other in the way he had been loving them. Their "troubled hearts" prevented them from thinking about, much less actually loving others; so, he called on them to trust him. In the context of believing on him he promised them the ability to do his work and guaranteed their prayers saying, "Whatever you ask in my name I will do."
We know from the record of Acts that these men were empowered by the Spirit of God to overcome their disappointments and fears to actually love others like Christ. But what about us? Can we actually set aside our own selfish concerns long enough to love others like Jesus? Only if we receive the same power of the Spirit they had. The good news is that we have it!
Jesus promised his worried disciple that he would not leave them "comfortless” but would send them another Comforter who we recognize as the indwelling Spirit of God. They received the indwelling of the Spirit on the night of his resurrection when he "breathed on them" and were empowered by the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to love all of Jerusalem.
Today we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we are born again and are empowered by the Spirit to love others when we ask God to use us to love others in Jesus' name. Remember the guaranteed prayer request? Whenever we ask God to use us in Jesus' name (believing we are one with Jesus), the indwelling Spirit gives us the love we need for others. In fact, Paul tells us that the very first "fruit of the Spirit" is love.
So, what keeps us from asking God to use us to love others, even our family? It may be that we really aren't trusting Jesus enough to love others like he does. Like the disciples we struggle with "troubled hearts" daily. We find ourselves trusting everyone and everything other than Jesus for our sense of personal security or significance. Basing our worth as persons on our own performance, the opinion of others, or our circumstances in life we are constantly frustrated with life. What satisfaction we may experience is only temporary and quickly replaced with a vague sense of emptiness.
This lack of faith transforms our negative emotions of anger, hurt, and fear into the destructive emotions of hatred, self-pity, and anxiety. Believing we are personally worthless is painful and we naturally seek relief by a variety of defensive activities. What we say and do is motivated by fear rather than faith, guilt rather than hope, and pride rather than love. Consequently, our relationships to others are strained and begin to break down. Not believing the gospel for ourselves leads to denying it in others as well.
Being disappointed and frustrated like the disciples were that night in the upper room with Jesus, it's no wonder we cannot even think about much less love other people like Christ. What we need is the same thing they needed, another Comforter, the Spirit of truth. We need the Holy Spirit to remind us who we are as the children of God and convince us that we are secure in God's love and significant in his plan. As the Spirit comforts us we have the comfort we need to care about others. As we receive the love of God for ourselves we have the capacity to love others as well.
Trusting Jesus enough to love others like him is really a privilege rather than a duty or obligation. Because the supernatural work of the Spirit of God is required to prepare us to love others, it is really a personal blessing to love others the way Jesus does. To love others like Jesus means that we must think and feel as well as act like Christ. With the mind of Christ and the indwelling Spirit of Christ we are able to be Christ to others. Just as he was convinced that he came from the Father and was going back to the Father, and that the Father had given him all authority; so, we also may be sure that we cannot possibly lose because we are one with him. Our love for others is simply the final outworking of our faith in Jesus being expressed daily. May God grant you all the grace you need to trust Jesus enough to love others like him.