HOW TO LOVE
Loving oneself and loving others is a challenge. Judging others is the opposite to loving them while affirming people and helping them be who they are is the way of loving them.
In his book, Repenting of Religion, Gregory Boyd observes, “As revealed through Jesus Christ, agape is most fundamentally the kind of love God had for us while we were yet sinners and the kind of love we are commanded to have toward all others. It is the kind of love God was aiming at in creating the world..”
“The Bible doesn’t give us an abstract definition of agape love. It rather points us to its perfect expression in the person of Jesus Christ, dying for us on the cross…
“As Bonhoeffer put it, “Love. . . is the revelation of God. And the revelation of God is Jesus Christ.” Love, as defined by the one who is love, lays down its life for another, however undeserving. As such, it always manifests Jesus Christ.” (1)
MORE THAN ENOUGH
The incarnated Christ is more than enough. What can be added to a life that is infinite in Spirit and infinite in life? Nothing can be added to infinite love. The belief that an incarnated Christ as one’s life needs topping up with law, depletes righteousness and the ability to love, to the extent that it is embraced. Additions of law anesthetise us to spirit, numb our sensibilities and deaden our being. Placed back in the knowledge of good and evil we are no further ahead in being alive in God than the non-believer left to his own devices and subject to the graces of God to which he is unaware.
JESUS EXPRESSED AS YOU
Jesus is not there to copy. We can have no more success in copying Jesus than the Jews had in keeping the law. We are empowered to love in Jesus love because Jesus is our life. He is incarnated in our being, which means that He is interwoven into the us that we think of as ‘ourselves.’ Jesus does not make us someone else. He makes us who we really are as a new creation. You always get to be you with Jesus – but it’s your best you. The emergence of the true self in Jesus Christ is the new birth and maturation as a son/daughter of God.
Love is not an abstraction. Love is a person doing that which is her nature. We do not naturally love others and ourselves unconditionally. The attempt to love others by trying hard and adopting external motions of love is only ever partial and frequently hypocritical. Externalities don’t cut is as real life. There is a way however. It’s the new and living way that is Christ our life. This is Christ woven into our being so that we are in our flesh what Jesus is in our spirit.
‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.4 NIV.
(1) Boyd Gregory, Repenting of Religion, p.19.