“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 only love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32a NIV)
His point is this: All of us can love those who love us back. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable – 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 4:16a 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 people who are unlovely, difficult, irritable, and those 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.
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by 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 founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2011 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.