Are We Loving Like Jesus?
A healthy Christian life requires regular checkups. It is not a “set it and forget it” kind of calling much like our physical health. If you want to live in the joy and hope that is promised from the Lord, it is important to diagnose yourself and see if you are acting like Him. It is better to find out a problem, rather than allow it to run unchecked and lead you into all sorts of grief. Since there are no Christian life doctors out there, how do you go about testing your Christian health?
The love section of the 13th chapter of Corinthians is a great way to test our hearts. It is the Christian diagnostic that changed my life. It likely saved my marriage. It is more responsible for my current happiness in the Lord than anything other than the Gospel. I took a diagnostic of my operating systems and failed miserably. There were warning signs everywhere and I could not turn it off and turn it back on again. This was hard news to accept. Yet, it was honestly facing this failure that opened up a totally different world for my Christian life.
Diagnostic testing is equally essential for your Christians life. A Christian cannot grow unless they are first willing to discover the areas that need to be repaired. This can be a painful process. Who likes to deal with bad news? But if you understand just how great the results can be there is no fear involved. God is with you on the journey. It is always better trying to fix something with God’s help rather than be trapped by the problem.
Love is Everything
Paul lays out the standard for love in 1 Corinthians 13. He deals with love as the center point of our faith in Jesus. Love is the high point of your life as a Christian. If you have all of the other trappings and signs of Christianity in your life but do not have love, you are nothing. For More on this read Christianity Without Love.
A person can give away everything they have to the poor and die as a marty. If they have no love, it is worth nothing. They could be bishop of a large city with thousands of people under them…no love and they are nothing. If a Christian is doing life without the love of Jesus working through them, their work is worthless. “Why is this so harsh?”, you may be asking. Because God is love. For more on this read God is Love It sounds a bit shocking, but if you break down what Paul is saying, it makes perfect sense.
God is love. It is part of His nature. So if you are doing anything through God there will be love present. It doesn’t have to be perfect love, but there will be love somewhere involved. If there is no love there it means that God is not in what you are doing. A Christian life without God is life but not Christian.
No Love Means No God
It is a major red flag if love is not present. Love is that important! It is like Martha when she is so distracted by serving Jesus that she loses track of love. Sure, she worked hard but it was not really for God. Love is meant to motivate her. It is there to make her service joy-filled. She is called to enjoy her time serving Jesus face to face. Yet she gets so lost and angry with her sister and Jesus that she scolds both of them.
Do you ever get so frustrated serving God you get angry with Jesus? It is a great sign love has gotten misplaced.
Given the emphasis that God places on love, it makes sense that you should check to see how you are doing on a regular basis in this area.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails.
Our Heart Diagnostic Test
The love described by God in this section can be a light under which to examine yourself. To check and see how you are doing, compare your daily life with the listed attributes above. It is like holding a garment up to a strong light to examine its quality. The bright light reveals either the great quality of the fabric or its hidden flaws. Simply take each of aspects of love to see if that properly describes you. If it does that is wonderful. Praise Jesus! If it reveals a problem then praise Jesus and get to work fixing it.
Here is the diagnostic test to apply personally:
Am I long-suffering?
Do I express love for others by being patient with them? As God is patient with us and our sin, are we patient with others? Do we write people off or rail at them for not changing fast enough?
Am I kind?
Do I treat others like a parent treats a child or a teacher treats a young student? Am I tender with people?
Do I envy?
This is a tough one in the “Keeping up with the Joneses” society we live in. Do I envy the material, physical, relational and even spiritual health of another?
Do I parade myself?
Is life all about telling others how great I am? Do I make a point to point out my good deeds to others?
Am I rude?
Am I a rude person? Do I treat others well even people I don’t like? Guess what? Politics and social media are not accepted here. Someone who rejects Jesus does not deserve rudeness either. Tough one, right?
Am I easily angered or provoked?
Am I an angry Christian? Am I defining my relationship with the Lord by what I am against and angry at?
Do I think evil?
This aspect can also be translated as love does not keep a record of wrongs. Do I store up the offenses of my spouse, child or others against me and then use them as a club against them each time there is an issue? Do I forgive fully like Jesus does?
You can continue on through Paul’s description of the attributes of love and see how you do.
Want to Go Deeper – Get Personal with It
This is particularly effective if you get personal with it. Replace the word love in the verses with your own name…if you dare. You honestly might not like the result.
This application changed my Christian life and made my marriage come alive like never before. I went through the verses and the Lord showed me the truth. I failed my check up miserably. God then gave me the desire and power to change through His Spirit.
Let’s see how I am doing now?
Tom is not envious? Tom does not parade himself and is not proud? Tom bears all things, Tom hopes all things, Tom endures all things?
You are not going to score perfectly. Only Jesus ever got 100% on this test. You are being sanctified and transformed into Jesus’ image. This means you are not currently totally in His image. You are never going to be perfectly loving until you see Jesus face to face. But you can get better with the Lord’s help. Much like going to the Doctor, you must be willing to look for the problems to solve them.
The goal with the Lord is never to remain stuck in the issue.
Are you willing to be diagnosed? Are you willing to accept the hard answers and then take them to the Lord?
Lord, where am I not loving like you love? Lord, show me how to change those areas so I love like you do? Lord, give my heart so I can love like you love?
If you are willing and ask, He promises to always answer.
Calvary Catonsville is a Calvary Chapel Church in Maryland serving the communities of Catonsville, Arbutus, Woodlawn, Elkridge, Halethorpe and more. We seek to simply teach the Word of God simply.