Deep down inside, every person who has ever lived wants to be loved and to be good at loving. But even a cursory look at history — and at our current world — makes it clear that humans aren’t always good at loving!
What is the key to loving well and being well loved? Is there a recipe, a formula, a sure-fire method we can put into practice to start loving as God loves?
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB)
To put this passage in context, the Apostle Paul has been laying out in previous chapters of Ephesians what God has done for us through Christ. He chose us, redeemed us, adopted us, and gave us His Holy Spirit to help us. Paul then zeroes in on how we can practice really loving others.
Paul includes two commands: telling us to “be imitators of God”— to mimic Him — and to “walk in love.”
For remember, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). We can’t get any more basic and profound as that.
Here’s something important I want you to dwell on. God loves you. Infinitely and unconditionally. You are His beloved child. When Paul says we are to mimic God, it’s in the context of that relationship of love. You are dearly loved, accepted, and precious to God.
If we don’t understand how deeply we are loved, it’s really tough to truly love. Instead we keep hunting for someone to complete us, which usually ends in disaster.
The second command is to “walk in love.” Walking is a choice. Walking is active. Walking requires taking steps, and sometimes you fall down. How are we to walk in love? As Christ did: He offered Himself to God on our behalf. The Son of God gave up His position in heaven, became a man, sacrificed His life on the cross, and died in our place to free us of sin.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:10-12 NIV)
Remember, love is choosing to give another person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what we’re called to do.
Today, remember you are infinitely and unconditionally loved by your Heavenly Father. Then go out into this world and let Him love others through you.
For more Biblical truths on enhancing your love life, check out our series resources page.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip