Real Christian love stands out. People immediately see that something is different about you when you are full of Christ’s love in your heart.
Think about it. Do you know someone that you consider to be a “great” Christian? What makes them stand out?
The ones I know have a gentleness about them. They make everyone feel welcome and valued. They seem firm in their convictions, but accepting. They are humble and willing to help.
Distinguishing Real Love
Real love is a LOT more than an affectionate feeling. You hear people say, “I just don’t love him (or her) anymore”. What they mean is the affectionate feeling is gone.
This describes worldly love. It is fickle.
Worldly love is mainly about getting MY needs and desires met. If I’m not happy about what you are doing for me, then my affectionate feelings dissipate and suddenly I don’t love you anymore. This can be in a romantic sense or otherwise.
Left to our own devices, this is normally how we, as humans, seem to love.
However, as Christ Followers, here’s what we are told:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 NIV
God enables us to be “born again”, to start over with a different, much improved way to live and love.
Real love is not based on feelings that change on a whim. Real love is intentional. It is determined.
Here’s what it looks like:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely seem to love like I should, but I’m pressing on toward the prize.
Can you imagine what our homes, churches and nations would be like if more of us loved like this?
How to Love This Way
Loving this way may seem like a tall order.
However, I do not want you to feel burdened by this. That’s not my intention at all. I want you to feel hopeful that there is a better way.
On your own, it would be impossible. But when you operate in the Spirit, you have a supernatural ability to overcome. What a precious gift! And the more you draw near to God, praying and reflecting on His Word, the more you will experience the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
We don’t have to strain to love others. We just have to let Jesus have His way with us.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT
Our quest to copy Jesus is the very thing that will enable us to show REAL love. That’s why Christians who are much further down this path seem so “great”. They are more conformed to His glorious image.