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Red Letters

Jesus commands us to live as love–to be “living love.” Love that breathes, walks, talks, and acts. And Jesus speaks of a particular kind of love. A love that is exhausts “self” for the betterment of “others.” I love that is poured out to God as a complete offering.

If we accept that this is what Jesus’ teachings command, we are then confronted with how to live this way in a world bent on the extreme advancement of the “self” over “others.”

Clearly, this is more than “random acts of kindness.”

How do you live as love in your every breath?

Christ commands our actions conform to the two Great Commandments: love God and love your neighbor. Love with al your body, soul, mind, and strength. Love exhaustively.

When I think of exhaustive love, I think of Mother Teresa. A woman whose feet became misshapen and deformed because it was said that she would always pick the worst of the donated shoes so that the best could go to the other sisters and the people under her care. That is one kind of self-exhausting love.

Yet, many are tricked into believing that Mother Teresa possessed a super-human strength, an extra dose of grace, or a supernatural blessing. I disagree.

I believe Mother Teresa organized every thought and action around the idea of loving God and others with all that she had.

You do not need to leave your job or your home to do this. You do not need to be a missionary or full time Christian minister.

What you need is that same commitment–that habit–of living as love. Too hard? Is it too hard to brush your teeth and comb your hair? You do those each day. Prepare food, put gas in the car, pay bills, tuck the kids into bed. Our lives are packed with chores and rituals. Why not ritualize love? Why not make love part of the daily habits and chores of your life?

To live as love means to develop daily habits and rituals that put God and others before yourself. It means taking time for prayer, fasting, and regular reading of the Scriptures. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. But many of us spend more time each week grocery shopping than we do on those activities.

To live as love means to “fast” from yourself. Spend less time on the things of this earth, and devote that time back to God.

To live as love means to always ask the question, is there a way I can do this that will bless someone else more than it will serve me? That could be as mundane as making sure the dishwasher is emptied at night, just because that’s how your wife likes it.

If you examine your life, you’ll find it full of these opportunities. We’ll explore more, but I challenge you to use this weekend as an experiment. Ask yourself this question throughout the day:

Am I doing this for God’s glory and for the benefit of others…or am I serving myself?

Post your answers over the weekend as comments.

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