Love Those We Don’t Like

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2

The call to imitate God sounds impossible. Yet, just as a small child imperfectly mimics a parent’s actions, disciples of Jesus copy him. These verses in Ephesians contain a key way to imitate God: walk in love.

Love, by definition, gives time, attention, and compassion. Love spends energy, intellectual resources, and money. Love sacrifices personal interests, wants, and needs for the interests, wants, and needs of others.

Indeed, love requires sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice for us reveals what real love looks like. John explains what “love” is in his first letter. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

The call to “walk in love” goes far beyond loving nice, similar-to-us, or likable people. God calls us to love dirty, unattractive, and needy people, too. He commands us to love greedy, ungrateful, and adversarial people. God directs us to love these people because that is who we once were. Paul tells the believers in Rome, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

To walk in love is to daily put others ahead of ourselves. We walk in love, not because others deserve our love, but because Jesus first loved us. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

Holy Spirit, fill me with your presence so that I might walk in love as Christ loves me. Amen.

Go Deeper — The discipline of walking in love starts in your mind, then continues in your actions. Write out 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and review it daily until you have memorized it. Ask God to help you exemplify love in these ways. You will be amazed at how He will transform your attitudes and actions.

 

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