My friend, we are called to love. I’m talking about the noble, truly selfless kind of love — the kind of love that inspires the laying down of our very lives for each other. Holy Spirit does not allow for lukewarm love in a true disciple’s life. Jesus gave us His last, solemn instruction about this before culminating His earthly mission on the cross. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34, NKJV).
“Wait a minute,” someone might say. “Jesus, how was that commandment new? Loving one’s neighbor goes all the way back to the law of Moses (Lev. 19:18). So where is the novelty?”
Don’t miss the key phrase. “As I have loved you.” Having entered into covenant with Jesus, we are now called to love on a whole new plane. He wants us to match His love level. This is not merely human love. We are now called to love with divine love.
Humanly speaking, this is impossible. Humanly speaking, no one alive has the self-restraint necessary to love at such a standard. Refrain from any and all impulses born of anger? Turn the other cheek every time someone wounds our emotions? Really? Every time? Respond to everyone around us with kindness, graciousness, and gentleness in every moment? Walk, in relationship with others, without a spot of pride? Have unconstrained mercy on every individual that has wronged us? Never judge? Always forgive?
Yes, absolutely impossible… if we take these instructions as directives to fulfill by trying really, really, really hard. We will fall short every time. We simply can’t do it. The sin nature with which we were born bends our dispositions in the opposite direction of God’s ideals.
Only the Spirit of God can put love into our hearts that closely resembles Jesus’ love. For this to be possible, we need a major overhaul. In fact, the long and the short of it is that we need Him to give us a heart transplant. The wonderful news is that this is exactly what Jesus holds out to us through the indwelling of His Spirit:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you…” (Ezek. 36:26-27a, NKJV).
Holy Spirit is all about transforming our hearts day by day to reflect the image, the likeness, and the beauty of Jesus. The more we submit to His masterful work, the more He empowers us to love supernaturally. Every day, He deposits more of Jesus’ own love in our willing hearts. Every day, we respond to those around us in increasingly loving, self-sacrificing, life-giving ways. Our love capacity may be growing by tiny increments; however, slowly but surely, Holy Spirit is making everything about our inner life beautiful in His time (Eccl. 3:11).
Romans 13:11 tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law, as love does no harm to its neighbor. This is the stunning loveliness of a heart that has yielded to Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work for many years. We become, by His thorough, relentless, proficient work, so full of Jesus that His exquisite love overflows to all the precious people He puts in our paths. This is His magnum opus. A life lived this way brings the Lord ultimate glory.
Dear Jesus, today I want to love like You do, more than yesterday! Let Your Holy Spirit come and surgically remove everything inside of me that hinders. I surrender wholeheartedly to Your breathtaking transformational process. Come and make me just like You!
Have you experienced Holy Spirit’s supernatural empowering to love someone difficult to love?