34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35
If we are to love like He does, we need to understand His love for us, and using that as a yardstick to ever deepen our love for others. We know His love for us is first and foremost sacrificial, but when we examine scripture, we find so many other qualities of His love.
His love for us is steadfast. One of may favorite verses in all of scripture is 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; - Lamentations 3:21-22. His steadfast love is what brings me hope. We could define steadfastness as having a firm loyalty or constant and unswerving dedication to something or someone. It is fixed or unchanging and solidly established so steadfastness is immovable, irrefutable, unchangeable, unalterable, and is completely and utterly dependable. His love for us never stops, not even for a moment. Despite the fact that we continue to wander away in disobedience, despite the fact that we love Him with only a portion of our hearts, despite the fact that we continue to place things and people before Him, despite the fact that we hurt Him and reject Him over and over, He continues to love us with an unwavering, relentless love. There is nothing we could do to make Him love us more or less. His love for us is constant and unchanging.
Do we love others with the same steadfast love? Or does our love depend on how others are treating us? When people in our lives turn their back on us, when they show us they only love us with part of their heart, when they demonstrate to us that other things or people are more important to them than we are, when they hurt or reject us over and over again, do we continue to love them in the same way as when they are behaving as we want them to? Far too often, the reality in our relationships is when people do not measure up to our expectations, we withhold a portion of ourselves from them. We grow angry and throw nasty words at them, or worse, we grow silent and withhold ourselves from them. Our love is not steadfast. It often changes based on how we feel.
But His love is not only steadfast, it’s pursuing. Throughout scripture, we seek God continually chasing after us. 2 Chronicles 6:9 tell us His eyes are running to and fro over all the earth, Psalm 139 is an entire Psalm about His pursuit of us, and there are other countless examples from scripture of God’s endless pursuit of us. If you are reading this as a child of God, you are living proof of His endless pursuit of you. Despite how we sin against our Father, despite how far we’ve run away from Him, He continues to come after us to demonstrate how much He loves us.
Is our love for others a pursuing love? Personally, I think pursuing love is more challenging than steadfast love. We may be able to continue to love those who hurt us, but do we go after them to demonstrate how much we still love them after they have hurt us? Far too often, we sit in a corner licking our wounds, waiting for them to come to us in apology rather than going after them with the pursuing love of Christ.
I want to love those in my life with a steadfast and pursuing love, but I know in my own power, it is impossible. I am flawed and will continually put my self and my own needs first in my own power. I need to daily surrender my will to His for Him to fill me with the love He has for others.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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