Got Love? (Part 2)
Leader, are you truly loving the people you lead—truly?
Even if your answer is yes, read on!
In Part 1 of Got Love?, we established a leader's obligation to love God's people in light of the immeasurable love we've received from the Father through Jesus Christ. If the level of your love tank is low, join the quest to discover how to recognize and repair a love leak. The first symptom identified (Unloving Toward God) is when our hearts become lukewarm toward the Savior.
Symptom #2: Unloving Toward the Gospel
To get your heart pumping again with passion, consider how often you rehearse the gospel in your mind. Martin Luther once said he felt as if Jesus Christ died only yesterday. What better way for a Christian to daydream—not about a more spacious home or new running shoes—but on Christ's finished work on the cross.
- Is the gospel as fresh and alive to you as Martin Luther described?
- Do you take your sin casually without much thought to the cost Jesus paid to forgive you? Are you resistant to forsaking any sin because of its seductive hold?
- Are you afraid to share the gospel for fear of ridicule or rejection?
The Love Prescriptions
- For starters, meditate on these verses: Isaiah 53:1–12, John 3:16, John 19:28–30, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 1:3–8, Ephesians 2:4–7, Philippians 2:5–11, Hebrews 7:25–28, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9–10. Keep a list of gospel gems as you mine God's Word.
- Singing or reading hymns packed with theology quicken our spirit to devotion. Off-key or not, sing "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?" or other beloved hymns. Take a look at Nancy Leigh DeMoss' twenty-five favorite hymns to find inspiration.
Symptom #3: Unloving Toward the Unlovely
The love that God requires of us isn't the warm, fuzzy kind. It is a deliberate act of the will. It's a love that chooses what is kind and best for someone else even if it means less-than-ideal consequences for self. One definition of love is "totally giving of yourself to meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return."
When God is the source, even the most unlovable are possible to genuinely love. Love for Leann who criticizes you—Yes! Love for Rebecca who is distant toward you— Absolutely! Love for Joanie who lied about you—Amazing!
- Do you keep loving, even when your efforts are rejected or seem unsuccessful? Is it routinely difficult to think the best of the character and motives of those who oppose you?
- Praying for others is one of the highest forms of love. Do you sincerely ask, "How can I pray for you?" then follow through and follow up?
- When you feel incapable of love, do you choose to act in loving ways—asking God to express His love through you—until your feelings catch up?
The Love Prescriptions
- Confess to God your inability or unwillingness to express His love. Make a conscious choice to love every person in every situation.
- Consider sending handwritten notes to convey grateful affection to those who follow under your leadership. Point out the means of grace you notice in their lives.
- Ask God to generously fill you with His Spirit and His divine love for those you lead . . . up to the full measure that you are presently able . . . even for those outside the family of faith. Be completely confident God's grace will supply what you lack over time, for it's one of His aims for your life (John 15:7).
"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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34–35). Is the level of your love tank on the rise? Let the love of Christ be the measure of your love for those you lead.
Chart a recovery plan. Which specific prescriptions will you use to repair and refill your love tank?
Written by Leslie Bennet
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