Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Love of Christ

I was reading in Ephesians today (and Paul is NOT easy for me to understand... I'm always re-reading 3-4 times before any semblance of a light bulb goes on!) and as I worked my way through chapter 3 I was blessed to be reminded of the love of Christ, and how incredible it really is.
I think that just about everyone has felt the love of Christ in their lives (whether they realize it or not.) It is often manifested through the words and deeds of those around us. When we experience it, it often helps to lift us up, to feel worthwhile and desire to become more than we are. But how often do we really consider this great love that Christ has for us?
Think about this- God never told Jesus He had to come down here and die for us, Jesus volunteered. He didn't do it because of the glory He could obtain or because He wanted to be Father's favorite. He didn't do it to show off or to pay a debt. What's absolutely amazing is that He came to this earth and suffered because He loves us.
What's even more incredible is the kind of love He has for us. As mortals we are often enslaved by the powerful feelings and urges that a human body creates. We use the word "love" for everything from chocolate to football to children and spouses. Somewhere in this vast spectrum of "love" lies the true love. Love that continues endlessly, regardless of whether it is reciprocated. Love that uplifts, empowers, builds and strengthens. The pure love of Christ.
Christ's love for us is not dependant on whether or not we measure up, it's not given just when we are worthy or when we've done something good. Jesus loves us even though He knows every single flaw, every bad thought and deed, every weakness. He truly loves the unlovable. So my question is... how many of us can say that we've really felt that way? And have we felt it more than once or twice? Have we felt it recently? If we are told that we should have the pure love of Christ in our hearts... do we love those who do their best to be unlovable? Do we show mercy and forgiveness when someone has hurt us, whether intentional or not? Do we reach out to those who are friendless and offer them our hearts?
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of love. He not only came to the earth to experience every single thing we will, but He willingly gave up His life, not just on the cross, but daily. He served those around Him, He brought light and hope to those who were in the depths of despair, and He showed each individual that no one is worthless to God.
It's staggering to think of what kind of love could do all of these things. And it's mind-boggling to think that we can be blessed with that same love; not just in receiving it, but in giving it also. Jesus is willing to give us the privilege of sharing His love with others. He's willing to let us stand in His stead and be the one to reach out to someone in need. He trusts us enough to allow us to be the one that touches someone's heart and brings them closer to Him. And in the end, we're the ones that profit the most. We end up closer to Him than ever before. We come to better understand His purposes and His desires. We end up knowing His love.


Papa D said...

Just a simple example: I wonder what would happen if members in America stopped praying for "our soldiers" and, rather, members all around the world started praying for "all those affected by war" instead.

I don't want to focus on just this issue, since the post was beautiful, but Alan Jackson's song "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" (about 9/11) describes the "solution" as "Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us, and the greatest is love."

Shayleen Lunt said...

Thanks for reading ahead! I look forward to lots of good comments ;)

chelle said...

I miss Sunday school. I am going to pop in this Sun. and see what I am missing. I do sort of have that hour free. :D
Isn't it amazing that total unconditional love He has for us. Without us doing a thing to deserve it. I can understand that sort of love...I feel I have that for my children..Maybe not to the same degree but I hope close to it. But, I still struggle with my own worthines of recieving that unconditional love from Him. Weird I know!

ANTSYLLI said...

I love your are so insightful. I consider myself fortunate to have daily contact with individuals that in many cases don't know their worth. As I interview, I see broken family relationships, messed up lives and people who have been cast out by society. I have learned not to judge. Many times I have been thankful for the example of Christ as I work with these people because they require patience, understanding and unconditional love. This helps to increase my understanding of what the Savior did for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

carrie said...

i love ephesians. i think it's very prophetic. i miss sunday school too. i'm too often pulled in other directions that hour.

i would have perished long ago without the love of my Savior. i felt it even when i didn't know what it was. it has compelled me to keep going when i didn't have the strength to do it on my own. having my own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel has allowed me to love better, deeper, and to be more forgiving.

i love your spiritual thoughts patty. very cool. i love you too!