An angry Facebook post. Teenage drama that leads to a week long argument. A riot in the streets of your city. Complete strangers taking out their anger on people they don’t even know.
The world is so full of anger today. From our phone screens to the streets of our hometown, it’s impossible to escape the never-ending flood of hate.
We’re confronted with it every day: shootings and riots and angry social media posts. There’s a cycle of hate surrounding us, constantly threatening to pull us into its deadly spiral of hurt and insults.
We need to be defined by love.
As Christians, we can’t let anger and hate consume our lives.
We have been born again in Christ. Our conversations, our moods, and our lives cannot be defined by hate and vengeful remarks – they need to be defined by God’s love.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7
Love comes from God, and as children of God we are called to live out that love. Every day, we’re called to show the world the same love Christ showed to us.
What does that mean?
How do we do that? How do we let our lives be defined by God’s love? What does His love even look like? Living out of love sounds so simple in concept, but when put into practice we discover just how hard it is.
To be defined by love means all of our actions need to come from love. We can’t just talk about how much we love others or share sappy posts about how important love is. Our actions must reflect that love we speak about.
Living out of love means putting others first…
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
At its heart, living out love means putting others first. We aren’t focused on ourselves, we aren’t focused on what we want. Instead, we’re looking for how we can bless others and meet their needs.
Love calls us to cultivate patience and kindness. Other people are confusing and frustrating. To truly show them God’s love, we’ll need to develop an empathetic care for those around us.
If we’re truly seeking to be defined by God’s love, we need to set aside our frustration, our personal desires, and our biases and instead learn to love and care for everyone in our lives.
…no matter who they are.
Putting others first is only part of living out God’s love. Because we aren’t just called to love our friends. We aren’t just called to love our family, or the people we see at Church. Anyone can do that, whether or not they’re living out God’s love.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:37
As Christians, we are called to love everyone.
That means we’re called to love the people who drive us crazy, who insult us, and who we disagree with. We’re supposed to love them, and put them first, and show them the same kindness and understanding we’d show to a friend.
Living in love isn’t easy.
Being kind and compassionate is hard enough. Being kind to the people we find frustrating or insulting seems almost impossible.
Indeed, it won’t be easy. But we aren’t called to an easy way of life – we’re called to follow Christ, who died for us because of His love. We need to remember that as we strive to live out His love.
God’s definition of love is different from our culture’s definition. It’s sacrificial. It’s a love that values others above ourselves.
Let your life be defined by God’s love.
No matter how much hate you’re surrounded by, or how confusing the world gets, or how frustrated you grow with the people around you, let God’s love define every aspect of your life.
“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 4:12
When we’re living out God’s love, we get as close as we can on this earth to showing our Savior, Creator, and Father to people who otherwise might never see Him.
So let love define your life, your actions, and your words. Live out God’s love in everything you do.
Ever since she was little, Julia has loved to create things with words. As she’s grown in life, she’s seen and experienced how God’s love can restore and give hope. She writes with the goal of shining God’s light for others and pointing them toward a greater hope. As a contributing writer for the Wilting Rose Project, she hopes to encourage other young women, reminding them of the one who gives us our worth.