What Love Requires
Passages: Luke 6:27–6:49, Psalm 38
Whenever Jesus spoke to His followers, He had a way of showing the stark contrast between law and grace. The law demands justice and equality: give and receive, borrow and pay. But the grace that God demonstrated to us through Christ, which He continues to pour out onto us through His Spirit, insists that we walk further than our human nature desires or is capable of without His help.
Without His help, I can only live naturally: love the lovely, hurt those who hurt me. But God does three remarkable things to help me accomplish more than I can through my flesh alone – He calls me to a love that requires something of me, He demonstrates through Jesus how that can be done, and the Spirit continually equips me to follow Christ's example.
There's no such thing as equality in my relationship with God; He has done all the giving. Anything I give back to Him was His initial gift to me anyway. God knows that I must stay engaged with Him in order to tap into the gift of His grace if I'm ever going to be able to love people the way He commanded. The Bible says, “He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” This is entirely contrary to human nature. When I ask for His grace to live in the same way, God paints a picture on the walls of the world of His love for the broken. Simultaneously, I am reminded of the great depth of love He extends to me. In me and in others, it shatters every prideful notion that says love can be earned.