- Matt Hattabaugh
Not Just Acts, but Our Address
Jesus said we are to love our enemies, and pray for and do good to those who don’t love us (Matthew 5:43-48). In practice, people can act in such a way to make the “loving, praying, and doing good” seem a little like space travel – complicated, expensive, and maybe not worth the effort! The Old Covenant was full of commandments and ordinances, all of which proved impossible for us to bear in our own strength and ability (Acts 15:10). In the New Covenant, Jesus gave us a new commandment that fulfills all the Old Testament law: LOVE (Galatians 5:14). Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34).
Jesus loves without condition. He lifts, does not condemn, and forgives in the face of obvious wrong (John 8:1-11). He gave His life for us in the face of ridicule, shame, and misunderstanding. Such a standard of love can seem impossible to meet! How can we love as He loves?
In truth, the love we see Jesus demonstrate is not natural – it is supernatural.
The mighty acts and extraordinary portrait of love we see in the earthly ministry of Jesus were a product of His relationship with the Father.
Jesus tells His disciples, “I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me. So live in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will live in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commandments, and in that way I live in His love” (John 15:9-10, GW).
Jesus gave us His address – the Father’s love. He also offers simple directions to get there: obeying His commandments. Acting on God’s Word is not just upholding an ordinance or fulfilling a command; it relocates us into the secret place of the Most High God (Psalm 91:1).
You see, love cannot be limited to a description of our actions; it is a where Jesus lived, and likewise, it is where Christ-followers live. God’s Love is where our roots should grow deep and our foundations be firmly established (Ephesians 3:17). The commandment to love one another as He loved us is an invitation to you and to me to enter the place where Jesus lives – in our Father’s love.