What's Love Got To Do With It? By Aimey McClanahan

What's Love Got To Do With It? By Aimey McClanahan

Have you ever felt like it was impossible to love someone? Whether it’s because they  simply got on your nerves,  you had nothing in common with them, they’d previously hurt you, or you just didn’t really know them well.   

As I was reading through scripture to write this blog on unity among believers, I noticed the call to love others was in so many of the passages.  It’s like Jesus, Paul and Peter (no, that’s not a boy band) knew how difficult it can be to love people.  They talk about bearing with one another in love, speaking truth in love, and sacrificial love.  Thankfully, what they knew and shared with people 2,000 years ago, is still available for us to learn from today!

-Jesus said loving others can show them Whose we are.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”                                   John 13:34-35

-Jesus knew a unified church would be a witness of God’s love.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”                                                 John 17:20-23 NIV

-Paul was aware of the influence that love and patience had on unity.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”                                                          ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-3

-Paul encouraged people to speak truth in love to be unified and more like Christ,

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭

-Paul let them know that love that unites is not selfish.

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”                                                                                Philippians‬ ‭2:1-8‬

- Paul wanted them to be united in love so they could know more of Christ.

“I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”             

     Colossians‬ ‭2:1-3

-Peter said love can cover a multitude of sins.

“Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]”                                                                                                          1 Peter 4:8 AMP

“What's love got to do, got to do with it?

What's love but a second hand emotion?”

I think as a culture, we have allowed our emotions and feelings to determine our actions way more often than we should.  We have gotten to a place where we believe love is a feeling that we should have and not an action that we often must choose.  We make choices every day … everything from what time we will wake up, to what we will eat, to what we put on our to do list.  Some of our choices may be limited or influenced by our responsibilities, obligations, feelings and emotions, but when it comes to how we treat others, we should choose love, even those that are hard to love.

I have realized over the years that there are many things that I am called to do as a Christian that I often do not feel like doing.  I have to remind myself that it’s not about what I may or may not feel like doing, but about a choice I can make.  My husband likes to help me along in this journey by reminding me to “choose joy”, because sometimes, it doesn’t take much for my attitude to go south when something doesn’t go as planned.

When I find myself struggling to choose love, I think of Jesus’ prayer, a little bit before going to the cross. Jesus asked if God would take the suffering He was going to endure. Then Jesus followed it with, “not my will, but yours be done”.  Does it sound like dying on the cross and bearing all of our sin was something Jesus “felt like” doing?  But, He knew what He was here for and wanted God’s will above His own.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to love someone … I encourage you to choose to sacrifice and to put aside pride, selfishness, and comfort, even when you don’t feel like it.  And I’m going to need you to encourage me to do the same. 



P.S.  I just want to say how thankful I am that God continually reminds us of things we already know and how often He does it when we need it most.

After I wrapped up this blog, I started working on our life group study “Rest and War” by Ben Stuart.   He asks us to read and reflect on Titus 2:11-14. 

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”                                Titus‬ ‭2:11-14‬ ESV

Afterwards, Ben says that not only does the grace and kindness of God save us but, “it also trains us! It is the grace of God that teaches us to let go of the destructive ways of living that were once the hallmarks of our previous existence. The kindness of God teaches us to live in an appropriate way as we deal with God, others, and ourselves.  This is important: God does not shame us into life change. He loves us into it. We do not work to earn God‘s approval. We work because we have it. His love proceeds and prompts our life change!”

As I read that, I thought “YES! That’s it!” He loves us into life change and as we sacrificially love others,  we are united as one,  others see our life change, are drawn to it, and it prompts their life change as well! 
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