Love is a Command
When Jesus gave us the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5 through 7, there were so many eye opening commands that the crowds were amazed.
“He taught as one who had authority, and not as the teachers of the law (Matthew 7:29).” One new area that Christ addressed was the topic of LOVE. If the world followed Christ’s teachings in Matthew 5:43-48, we would see a radical change in relationships. I encourage you to take a moment and read those six verses. If you obey them, it will radically change your life and your marriage.
We live in a culture that talks about and sings about love continuously. But, is that love the truly authentic love that reflects God? We are told in the Bible that God is love. It is His character, His nature, His identity, His perfection. God loves the world and that includes all people apart from their performance. “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).” God loves you not because you deserve it but because He is supernaturally, righteous, good, kind and gracious. If we had to deserve or earn God’s love, it would cease to be love because God’s love is a gift that He gives unconditionally. All of us fall short of the glory of God so we would never be able to say we are truly loved because we cannot be perfect.
Religion requires performance in order to please God but we are called to place our faith in God to believe that we are loved even though we fail continuously and will never deserve it. God sets us free from performance so that we can know His perfect love. He loves us as much on our worst day as loves us on our best day because His love depends on Him not us!
But God demonstrates his life for us in this.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
Do you love every single person in your life as God does? Do you love your enemies? Is it no wonder the crowds were amazed? What in the world is this revelation to love everyone mean?
Think about it. If your love depends on how others treat you, it is an “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” love. It is conditional which makes a lot of sense. But what does Jesus say about that in verse 46.
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” God’s love is not fair.
In our marriages, God is calling us to honor our wedding vows which were unconditional promises to love till death do us part. Loving perfectly is not what we usually feel like doing. So if it comes down to doing what seems right to me or loving what God commands me to do, what will I do? When we love according to fairness, we do what is natural. But, when we love in spite of our feelings, we do what is supernatural. That’s how Jesus lived. That is how every person is commanded by Jesus to live. If love is a decision, we will not fall in love or fall out of love because our love will be a matter of obedience to God’s command not a matter of how I feel or what I think is fair.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Trust that God loves you unconditionally so that you can love others unconditionally
Loving others does not mean that we must be in a relationship with everyone.
It does mean that we are to love the sinner and hate the sin and we are commanded to forgive everyone for all sins committed against us.
Unforgiveness is the biggest barrier to unconditional love.