Three Threats to Loving Well

Preached by

The command to love others is at the heart of Jesus’ teachings. But have you ever wondered how we can truly love like Jesus loved? What threatens our ability to love others well? And what can we actually do to keep our hearts open and connected to those in need?

This passage reveals the priority of love for any Christian, warns of three major threats to our ability to love, and point us to the ultimate source of love – Jesus himself. If we want to truly love others, we must start by focusing on his love for us.

  1. The passage emphasizes the importance of love. Love is the synovium fluid that keeps the body of Christ functioning properly and able to make a difference in the world.
  2. There are three potential threats to love mentioned:
    • Coveting: Comparing and jealousy hinder compassion. Christians must avoid constantly measuring up and comparing themselves to others.
    • Combating: Constantly being in a “battle mode” stiffens up the body of Christ. Christians must avoid constantly nursing bitterness.
    • Closing: Closing off one’s heart to those in need hinders love. Christians must avoid shutting down and closing their hearts when they see the overwhelming need in the world.
  3. Christians can keep their hearts open by focusing on Jesus’ love for them and depending on the Holy Spirit for power. Jesus’ sacrificial death is the model of love.
  4. Practically, Christians can meet needs within their “circle of control” – things they can actually do. They cannot meet all the needs in their “circle of concern,” the larger world of overwhelming need, but they can start with one person or one small act of love.

The call to love others comes with both joy and challenge. Joy, because love is at the very heart of who God is and what he purposes for our lives. But challenge, because true love requires sacrifice, patience, and an open heart. Yet the love Christ has shown us – willing to lay down his very life – reminds us of how far love can go.

As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus through prayer and his Word, the Holy Spirit will empower us and give us open hands and open hearts to meet the needs right in front of us. What matters most is not how much we can do, but that we start with those we can actually help, loving with the same costly grace Jesus has given us.

Then his love will truly flow through us to a world in desperate need. May his love stir our hearts today to begin – and to never stop.

Verses

1 John 3:11-18

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