My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. [John 15:12-13 NIV]

When Jesus speaks of love and loving he is not referring to something emotional and fleeting. His words to us in this verse speaks to a love that is tough. Persistent. Sacrificial. A love that causes one to deny themselves for the good of another. A friend once defined it this way:
"Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person."
The word commitment seems to capture an important aspect of love. It speaks to me about the way that God loves me. In my lowest times I have never doubted his commitment to me. This kind of unfailing and persistent love has carried me through so much pain and brokenness.

The other part of this quote that I like is the idea that we love imperfect people. In some sense our love has to kick into high gear when imperfection surfaces. We must be kinder. More patient. Gentler. When hate surfaces our love is put to the test. In such times love can soar the highest.

Jesus showed us how to love. He challenged us to love our enemies. On the cross he exemplified that love when he forgave those who drove the nails of jealousy, hate end envy into his hands and feet. Greater love has no one had since. Greater love. It is the challenge of the gospel.

We turn our eyes on Jesus. We look full into the face of Love incarnate. Help us Lord to love.

... this devotion is part of the z2a bible words series.

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