By Major Julie Feist
Kalispell, MT Corps – Northwest Division
For those who have women who are homebound or are unable to attend, here is a simple program that can be duplicated and mailed or delivered to women. A small Valentine goody could also be included. This program can also be adapted to be a devotional or a Bible study.
Note: When printing, this download is designed to be printed front and back and folded in half as a booklet.
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:2 (The Message)
I don’t know about you – but not only do I want “to be like Jesus,” I want to love like Jesus loves.
Why? Because I know it’s the best way to live. When we love like Jesus, we’re lifted outside ourselves. We shed self-interest — with our spouse, our kids, friends, everyone. His brand of love sees beyond the normal range of human vision — over walls of resentment and barriers of betrayal. When we love like Jesus, we rise above petty demands and snobbish entitlement. We loosen our tightfisted anxiety and relax in a surplus of benevolence.
Most of all, the Jesus model of love inspires us in following the best way to live, “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31b, NIV). I want to love like that!
But can anyone really love like Jesus? After all, He raised the bar of love to extraordinary heights. Love your enemies? Walk the extra mile? Turn the other cheek? Seriously? This is love beyond reason, isn’t it?
Of course. And that’s the point.
To love like Jesus, we need to think and feel. We need reason and emotion. Both head and heart, working together. It’s the only way to bring perfect love into our imperfect lives.
Here’s the truth: When you open your heart, love changes your mind. Let that sentence soak in. Your mind can do an about-face and be transformed when it receives a divine impulse from your heart. You’ll experience a revolution in your thinking when you allow your heart to enter the conversation. It’s what Paul was getting at when he said, “You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:1b, MSG).
Jesus’ teaching and the example he set reveal at least five distinct and practical qualities of His love:
- become more mindful — less detached.
- become more approachable — less exclusive.
- become more graceful — less judgmental.
- become more bold — less fearful.
- become more self-giving — less self-absorbed.
Is this an exhaustive list of how Jesus loved? Of course not. But it’s a way to get an earthly handle on this heavenly ideal of love. Time and again, Jesus demonstrated these five qualities and spoke about them, not as unreachable ideals. These are doable.
Today’s key verse reminds us: “Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Ephesians 5:2).
FUN FEBRUARY FACTS
- The month of February is American Heart Health Month
- February is Black History Month
- Valentine’s Day is February 14th
- February is the only month to have a length fewer than 30 days.
- February is one of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GOD’S LOVE
- God loves you
- God’s love is unconditional
- God’s love is revealed to us in Jesus
- God calls us to love our enemies
- God’s love inspires us to love our neighbors with compassion!
Let these verses remind you that God’s love is everlasting and unchangeable:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3