Jesus Is the Model
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." 1 John 3:16
Everything Jesus did was done out of his perfect love for the Father and us. Every word, healing, prayer, and action was done out of unconditional devotion. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “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.” Scripture commands us to love others the way Christ did. Jesus is our model for living. And God never commands us without perfectly equipping us. If we are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us,” we must believe God will fill us up with the ability to love as Jesus loved.
The concept of living like Jesus always seemed unreachable. It often reminded me of motivational posters that read, “Reach for the moon—even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” But God’s word is not an unachievable suggestion. His word is perfect and true. And Scripture says in Romans 8:29, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God’s plan is to conform us into perfect reflections of Jesus’ love. His plan is to fashion us into disciples who live, work, and love as he did.
We can live our lives in obedience to God’s command to love others for one reason alone: our heavenly Father is near, alive, and active in us. The same God who empowered Paul, Peter, John, Stephen, David, Daniel, and Esther lives in us today. Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” And the Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit who dwells within us as believers is love. We can love like Jesus because his Spirit longs to produce the fruit of love deep within us. He longs to love people through us. He has a perfect plan to use you to reveal to a broken and searching world the unfathomable riches of Jesus’ love.
If we are to look to Jesus as our model, we must first believe that God can and will help us. We must believe that the Spirit is perfectly capable of taking what was dust and fashioning it into the likeness of the Son. Secondly, we must spend time allowing the Spirit to move in and through us. We must make space in our lives to be loved by God so that we can be used by him to love others. I can offer nothing of value that I haven’t first received from my heavenly Father. I can do nothing great unless God has done something great in me. 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” We have to be children who abide in Jesus so that we can walk in his ways.
God longs to love you and help you love others today. He longs to meet you and heal the wounds and insecurities that have kept you from loving others well. He longs to empower and transform you to live like Jesus. Run to him with open arms, and allow him to do a mighty work in you as you enter into guided prayer.
1. Meditate on God’s desire for you to love like Jesus. Remember that God doesn’t command you to do something you are incapable of doing. Allow Scripture to fill you with desire and faith for what God has for you.
“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
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29
2. Where do you need God to do a mighty work in you today?Ask the Spirit to reveal what areas he wants to heal today. Ask him to guide you to a wound or insecurity he longs to speak to and love.
3. Receive the love of your heavenly Father. Allow him to heal and empower you to love others. Ask him to transform you into the image of Jesus and fill you with his heart for others around you.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?'” Matthew 5:43-47
It is impossible to be consistently loved by God and not love others. His love has this incredible ability to heal us and empower us at the same time. His heart is always to love us while helping us to love others. As you grow in your relationship with your heavenly Father, allow him to use you in increasingly powerful ways. Allow him to make you selfless and servant-hearted. Allow his love to make you more like Jesus. May you discover the joy and peace that comes from wholeheartedly loving others today.
Extended Reading: 1 John 3