How to Love Like Jesus

“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.

17 Comments

  • David Edwards says:

    Good content and suggestions.

    • me says:

      Be bold! It is difficult for me, as I’m more reserved and frightful of the deviation to the mean. However, I’ve noticed from previous experiences that the everlasting affects far outweigh the fear and lack of commitment that was felt prior to. Go for it- take the step!

  • David says:

    Excellent post !

  • Courtney McKee says:

    So….where is the bible verse that supports “God designed us to want happiness because he wants us to be happy”? I support & appreciate the SYMBIS ministry but am concerned if this is the route the ministry’s grounding theology is headed….

  • Stan says:

    I’m not sure which Bible verse Dr. Les was referring to, but when Christ taught his disciples to “Be of Good Cheer” even in the midst of terrible tribulation (See John 16:33) I believe he absolutely believes and expects that we can and should be happy.

  • Jo friend says:

    Funny – this came as discussion this week. It’s almost like “happiness “ is a bad word in Christian culture. Joy – fulfillment- satisfaction- they are all used in scripture. Maybe because our kind of happiness is different than the world’s way?

  • Bob C says:

    Stan and Jo I totally agree. Jesus went through a lot of suffering and frustration, especially with His disciples, because a lot of the time they just did not get it. But He maintained His joy which is not how the world defines joy and happiness. Even as believers we have that joy and happiness, but we are still humans, and our sinful nature makes it hard to stay there.

  • Joel Tan says:

    Well Said. May God be with you and I pray that all of us who has the privilege to visit this blog must act according to His words.

  • I love the content of these pages!
    The LORD trains those he adores, as a dad the child he thoroughly enjoys.

  • Tholiwe says:

    Love the content too , good job Les

  • Tholiwe says:

    Good job Les, May God bless you in Jesus name

  • Linda says:

    I am fearful of having close friends or letting people get close to me. I want to love others how Jesus did, but I don’t know how to get over this fear which leads to incredible anxiety. I really need God to change me and have prayed for this. I even run away from church when people start getting too close. I have tried pinpointing why I feel like this but have so far been unable to resolve it.

    • Oyinda says:

      Pray to God for this, I can relate somehow, I have trust issues to a degree – afraid they’ll leave me or stop liking me. Firstly, pray to God that you see your self worth and the worth of others. Secondly, take the leap of faith. Put yourself in situations where you have to lean on God, and trust fully in Him. It’s so easy to run away from our fears, but with God, we have the boldness to confront them. Be of good courage, don’t be afraid. And put yourself in situations where you have to face this anxiety. Then pray that God gives you the faith to believe that He is your refuge and strength, and ever-present help in time of need. All things are possible with God: tackling anxiety, trust issues, stress, pain. ALL things are possible with Him who gives you strength. Keep fighting the good fight x

    • Holly says:

      God gave me a life-changing word in regard to exactly this. He showed me how insecurity and low self-esteem were causing the anxiety and how I was cheating others out of the opportunity of getting to know me. As soon as the root was identified – I almost laughed because I had already chosen not to be swayed by people’s opinion of me and liked who I was. Satan almost pulled one over on me, but not anymore.

  • Jeannette says:

    Sometimes we fear men instead of fearing God. We allow this fear to control us, whether the fear is deeply rooted, bad childhood experience, or rejection, it’s always directed towards other humans. Many times those fears are no -existent when we’re with animals….the fear of getting close to others is more often than not, a protective reaction. We do not want others to hurt us. We do not allow them to get close, we feel vulnerable.
    Trusting in Jesus and having a Godly and Holy fear of God, is the remedy.
    When you realise that others aren’t any better than you, when you realise we’re all sinners, and we have all fallen short of the glory of God, when we see others as we see ourselves, fear will subside.
    There are many verses to help with this, like “ if God is for us, who can be against us” Rom 8:31, also “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear” 1 John 4:18.
    These are just a couple, I would suggest you go to your concordance at the back of your bible and find all the verses relating to fear. Read them and memorise those that are relevant. Go to church, make friend with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and allow the love of Jesus to shine through you, knowing He is always present with you, He never leaves you nor forsakes you. You do the approaching, the seeking, starting conversations, with Jesus by your side. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:18

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