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God’s Word teaches us that we should literally go out of our way to intentionally show love for one another. This isn’t some cheesy or sappy idea of love, either. This is true Agape. It’s the kind of unconditional and endless love that the Father showed us by sending His Son. Jesus taught all about love. He said it is the greatest commandment given to us. And Romans 12:10 even says…
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
This tells me, we ought to continually try to “one-up” one another in showing honor and affection. So, how can we achieve this caliber of love for each other? It’s time to step up our commitment to loving our fellowman. It’s time to LEVEL UP! I am Stace Massengill, and welcome to the Kingdom Hero Show.
On this episode, I wanna talk about some ways that we can love above and beyond – going all out for one another. But before we dive straight into that, let’s see why this is something we should be doing anyway. And soon, we’ll see how it is totally worth our time and effort. Of course, love is something that is done without regard for what we can get in return, but it certainly comes with its own rewards.
As mentioned before, love is at the heart of the Gospel of Christ. From the onset, God created mankind in His own image and He walked and talked with Adam in the Garden. That very first bond between man and his Creator was love. Then, when sin entered the scene and wrecked that relationship, God still sought to make a way for mankind to be redeemed. His ultimate plan involved a sacrifice on His part. Jesus, the Son of God, was that sacrifice. We all know John 3:16…
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus Himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” Yes, He called us His FRIENDS! And Romans 5:8 says…
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This Gospel message is ALL ABOUT LOVE! So, if God viewed love as being so important, and Jesus deemed His love for us as more valuable than even His life, then shouldn’t we be practicing this same kind of love for each other? The truth is that, whether we think so or not, we certainly SHOULD be – and that’s why God made it a command.
Remember, when they asked Jesus what’s the greatest commandment, He told them how that all the commandments hinge upon LOVE. Jesus said the greatest command was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The first few of the ten commandments are ways to show that love for God:
- Have no other gods before Me
- Don’t take Lord’s name in vain
- Keep the Sabbath Holy
Jesus then told them that the second greatest command was like the first, to love others as yourself. Looking at the ten commandments again, the remaining ones are things that should be automatic if you love others in this way:
- Honor your parents
- Don’t murder
- Don’t commit adultery
- Don’t steal
- Don’t lie about others
- Don’t lust after someone else’s spouse
- Don’t long for other people’s property
Indeed then, we are COMMANDED to love. But that love is not subject to our own interpretations. The bar is set pretty high. There are a lot of things we tend to associate with love that just don’t come close to the real thing. Love is not that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re attracted to someone. Love is not synonymous with sex. Love isn’t any of the garbage that years of TV and movies have tried to tell us it is. No, real love is selfless and unconditional. All the stuff that 1 Corinthians 13 says about love, THAT’S the real deal right there…
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Most of us, if we’re honest, get tripped up with that very first characteristic of love – patience. Ouch, talk about high bars. I rarely have enough patience to deal with that slow motorist in front of me, let alone the one who cut me off – and I’m supposed to LOVE them?! Yikes. In this fallen world where we’re constantly being told to look out for number one and if it feels good do it, the easiest thing to do in my traffic scenario is get angry and lay on the horn. It may not help the situation, but man, it feels good, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s not really the best way to handle things. Getting upset at people isn’t healthy for us – physically OR spiritually. And learning to have love in our hearts at ALL times can radically change our attitudes as well as our outlook on life in general.
Again, Jesus was our example. Read the scriptures in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Study up on how He interacted with people. And seek God’s help in prayer. Ask Him to plant that Agape kind of love in your heart, to see others as He sees them, and to grow your affection toward them. Ask Him specifically for those character traits of love in the passage we just read: to be patient and kind, not to envy or boast or be arrogant or rude or selfish or irritable or resentful, etc.
The more you truly seek after it, the more you will find that kind of love manifesting itself in your daily life. Then, you’re ready for the advanced course. This is where you take things to the next level. And this is also where you will begin to see the most benefit to your own life – loving above and beyond.
Now, being nice or polite is one thing. But going out of our way to be kind and loving is a whole ‘nother thing. But it’s worth it. So, how do we get ourselves in the right frame of mind to accomplish this next-level love? It basically boils down to three things…
First, you have to have a real desire to show people this kind of love. If you aren’t willing to go all out to achieve the goal, you likely won’t. If you’re like most Christians, you probably feel only so comfortable showing affection toward other people – especially if you don’t know them that well. But this is a great reason to better get to know others. You can start small. Find someone you see at church but don’t really spend time with, and make it a point to get better acquainted. I suggest joining a small life group from your church if possible. It’s a great way to really get to know fellow believers beyond the church doors. In doing so, you’ll find your life enriched by these relationships, and your desire to show them affection will greatly increase.
Second, as with anything important to your Christian walk, you should seek God’s assistance. Praying is a great way to lay all your doubts and fears out there and allow God to help you see past them. Ask Him for courage, insight, or anything you feel you are lacking. Let Him instill His love for others within you. Hear me on this, what ever else you do, never short-change yourself by failing to take things to God in prayer.
Third, all of that preparation is for nothing if you aren’t intentional about reaching your goal. You must purpose yourself to see it through. Set reminders on your smart phone, daily reminders, to seek out opportunities to show God’s love to others. One thing my brother (Stan) has done – and I love this – he has a note app on his smart phone where he keeps a grocery list, and in the middle of that list, it says, “Look for opportunities to witness.” Likewise, we should look for any chance to be a blessing. Set aside some time to make a list of ways you could totally WOW someone with a gift or whatever. Look for needs, but also the little things that would just make someone smile. Then follow through. Figure out how to make someone’s day or week, and just DO IT.
Another good idea is to involve other people in the effort. Think about it: if you were planning a surprise birthday party for someone, getting friends to help out would make it easier to do more – it could be bigger and better with more help. If someone you know needs a porch painted (for example), get a group together to get it done. Know someone who really needs a vacation but can’t afford it? Start a collection with others to help gift that person with a nice little getaway. Or maybe you know a shut-in who could simply use a bit of companionship once in a while. The possibilities are only limited by your own dedication and imagination. But you can be the light that brightens up someone else’s day.
Finally, shut off the negative voice in your head that keeps tossing out reasons why you just don’t have the time for any of that. As Pastor Aaron said on our last podcast, you will never have time to do something until you make the time for it. And frankly, you won’t make the time if you don’t think it’s worth the time. Let me assure you, it is SO WORTH IT. In fact, once you start exercising this next-level love, you may become to addicted to it. You should already know that it feels good to do good, and there’s good reason for that. God, in His infinite wisdom, designed us in such a way that our acts of kindness toward others cause a release of endorphins in our own bodies – making us feel happy. The more we do this, the happier we are.
Let’s look one more time at that scripture from Romans 12:10…
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
So remember, whether it’s inviting a widow over for a Thanksgiving meal, or planning an appreciation party for your pastor, showing Godly love for others is both a duty and a pleasure. But hey, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing BIG! Go all out, out of your way even, and love above and beyond! I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying.