“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32 NIV)
If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32 NIV)
His point is this: Anybody can love those who love them. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable. It’s when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.
This may seem like an impossible task, and it is. That’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16 NIV).
When you realize how much God loves you — with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love — then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving the unlovely, loving the difficult, loving the irritable, loving people who are different or demanding.
You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.
Love must become your lifestyle, the habit of your life. But it starts with a decision. Are you ready?
Your life is worth far more than you think, and by learning to love others with the love God gives you, you will have an influence far greater than you could ever imagine. If you will commit to this, you will experience love as God means it to be — filled with hope, energy, and joy.
My prayer for you is “that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love …” (Philippians 1:9 NCV)
Talk About It
What does love that is infused with hope look like?
What does it mean to have “knowledge and understanding with your love”?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.