“Observe how Christ loved us. Love like that.” – Ephesians 5:2
Loving like Jesus is the best way to live. When we love like Him, we can step outside ourselves and clearly see our loved ones and their needs. We can shed layers of selfishness, resentment, anxiety, pettiness, and entitlement. Most of all, we can rise above our human imperfections and step into transcendent love.
Jesus’s model of love challenges us to stop settling for anything less than “the most excellent way.” If you want to love like Jesus, read on.
Can anyone really love like Jesus?
When it comes to love, Jesus raised the bar astronomically. He teaches us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and walk the extra mile. To our human minds, that sounds completely outrageous–but that’s the point.
If we want to love like Jesus, we have to open our hearts and our minds. We need to be able to fully utilize our emotion, reason, thoughts, and feelings. We can’t bring perfect love into our imperfect lives without this kind of complete vulnerability.
Why? Because opening your heart allows love to change your mind. When Jesus touches your heart, your mind can follow suit and be completely transformed. Allowing your heart into the conversation will revolutionize your thinking. We believe that’s what Paul meant when he said, “You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:1 MSG).
If you’re in search of reasonable love, you’ll miss out on a love that’s extraordinary–on the opportunity to find a love you didn’t realize you had.
Jesus’s ideal model of love can rub off on our imperfect lives. Why? Because loving like Him is more attainable that we realize.
5 actionable ways to love like Jesus
Jesus’s example and teachings show us at least five ways we can love more like Him. While it’s not an exhaustive list by any means, these practices can provide us with an actionable starting point to apply to our imperfect, human lives.
To love like Jesus, we must:
- Be mindful. We need to connect more deeply with our lives and the people in them, rather than living a detached, disconnected existence.
- Be approachable. It’s important for people to feel safe approaching us; in other words, we must become less exclusive in our interactions with others and more welcoming to those who seek us out.
- Be full of grace. We must be willing to relate to others in a less judgmental way.
- Be bold. We have to shed our fears, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV).
- Be self-giving. We need to become less self-absorbed and more invested in those around us.
Over and over, Jesus demonstrated these qualities to show us that they’re not unattainable ideals. Instead, they’re a doable way to get an earthly handle on a heavenly ideal.
Debunking the myths
It’s a common misperception that loving like Jesus means that you must become a doormat, a weak wimp, or a spoilsport. Some people believe that loving like Jesus means we have to deny ourselves everything, miss out on all the fun, and smother our joy. But that’s not true.
According to research, having the ability to practice love in our daily relationships–marriage, friends, family, and otherwise–is actually the defining mark of human happiness. When we give of ourselves and do good for others, we use higher-level brain functions that trigger neurochemical reactions in our brains. The result? A cascade of positive emotions.
God designed us to want happiness because he wants us to be happy. But we seldom realize that the things we think will bring us happiness actually won’t. The things we chase after actually hinder our ability to truly enjoy life. We get used to pitiful pleasures that only last for a moment–and we miss out on the deepest enjoyment life has to offer.
Learning to love like Jesus isn’t illusive, out of reach, or pie-in-the-sky theology. It’s available to you and me right now. At times, we will fail–but each time we dust ourselves off and start again, we’ll learn a little more. It’s not easy, but it can be done. And I (Les) want to share the journey with you.
Need a road map?
My new book Love Like That is a deep dive into the 5 steps you and I can follow in order to love more like Jesus. When you pre-order, you’ll get access to bonus resources, including a sneak peek at chapter 1, a 30-day devotional, a free copy of the Deep Love assessment, and more. Get your copy here.
If you’d like to join the Love Like That launch team, sign up here.
Do you want to love more like Jesus? Are you already following some of the tips in this post? Let us know how they’ve opened your heart and changed your mind in the comments below.