Love Is Messy Business
Opportunities to love sometimes come wrapped in undesirable packages. God calls us to be like Him in how we love others. Sometimes we have a picture of love that is so easy, breezy, and sweet. Just give a smile, we say. Just be nice. But love is messy and hard.
A leper was so broken, he fell on his face and begged the Lord, barely getting out the words, “If you will you can make me clean.” Love looks like Jesus not just healing the man, but touching him. (Luke 5: 12, 13) This man had not been touched since the day he was pronounced leprous. Jesus touched the man, and healed both his heart and his body. That’s what love looks like.
Love looks like the outcast prostitute getting Jesus’ public approval for loving and worshipping him with her tears and perfume. He was accused of being a false prophet for not recognizing her sinfulness. He risked losing face for being associated with her, but that didn’t matter. He praised the woman, and said she would be remembered wherever the gospel was preached.
The LORD sends us many opportunities to love and sometimes we’re looking for the showy opportunities. But the opportunities He gives us could come with obscurity. We may have to love in the darkness where no one sees. We may have to love in our hearts when we choose to forgive. We may have to look bad, smell bad, or even feel bad in our loving. We may have to humble ourselves and consider ourselves as the ‘merely servants’ that we are. We may have to serve where we look nothing like the status we might have acquired in the world. We have to pay the price to be like Jesus our Lord and Christ. That’s part of what it means to take up our cross.
‘And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”’ (Luke 9:23-25 ESV)
We ought to only serve an audience of One. We ought to serve with only God as our audience. We ought to serve without expecting a reward in this temporary place but look forward to an eternal reward and the pleasure of our Eternal Master. God is watching. He is our judge. One day He will reward His faithful ones for their works done in love.
Love is hard. Love is sacrificial. Sacrifice is bleeding. Bleeding is pain. Blood is life.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV) This is the love Jesus showed. This is the love He’s calling us to.
Will you be more conscious of the opportunities the LORD sends your way to love and serve? Will you die daily? Will you take up your cross in obedience to live God’s way? Will you lay your life down? Will you love in truth? Will you “rescue those who are being taken away to death; and hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter”? (Proverbs 24:11)
May the LORD grant us the grace to love like He has shown us to. May we be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit and the living and sanctifying word of God. In Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.