When Love Runs on Empty

Love One another

We love, because He first loved us.

If you drive a car without filling the gas tank, eventually you will run out of gas. No brainer, right?

Gas tanks are simple. They require energy in order to function. Watch the gas gauge and you can see when the tank is nearing empty. It’s time to stop and fill the tank. We know this…or if we arent’ paying attention, we discover it when we’re stranded on the side of the road.

Fueling our souls isn’t quite so straightforward, yet hearts need love just as cars require gasoline. We pour time and energy into relationships, service, and work, giving to others. When we try to give what we neglect to receive, it doesn’t take long to find ourselves stranded on detours of disappointment, bitterness, or resentment.

Love one another, even as I have loved you…

Our greatest need.

To be loved and accepted is a deep need of the human heart. We are created to enjoy  relationship with both God and men, and love is the need that most satisfies our restless hearts. This new command that Christ gives in the intimacy of the last supper, embraces both the need and the supply.

The first time the phrase, “love one another” is used, Jesus adds a layer of intimacy to the previous command, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Here in the quiet of the upper room, in the last intimate moments with his disciples, he emphasizes the vital importance of loving one another. In fact, Jesus repeats the command to love one another five times on this last night before the crucifixion.

Love one another.

The way Jesus has stated this command makes it clear that this is not a one-sided command. As we love one another, no one is left out, no one isolated. Too often we love some, but not others. When we all are faithful to love one another, there is plenty to go around.

Even as I have loved you…

The most important supply that fills our need for love is the love of Christ.

Even as.

I have loved you.

Love for one another doesn’t come always come easy. There are situations and relationships that challenge our ability to love others. When we try to love others from our own resources, we soon run out of steam.

We love because He first loved us.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11

Without love, obedience becomes legalism and religiosity. Without love service is meaningless, teaching is noise, and all our efforts are tied to the earth. Even the feat of moving mountains by faith is meaningless without love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

We may think our love blazes a trail through the darkest hours and most difficult relationships, but our love is tied to self without the life-giving love of Christ.

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How easy it is to live the trying life of trying to obey God with our own resources. We often teeter between not loving others well with the agape-heart of Christ, or we love them above God. These are the challenges we face when we don’t continually receive God’s love that frees us from the selfish ways of our independent hearts.

Only as we receive and live-abide-dwell in Christ’s love for us can we truly love one another, free from the self-motivations of our flesh.

Gods love

Oh yes…even as I have love you. This is the power that fuels our ability and desire to love one another.

In the book of John, love is mentioned more times than any other book in the Bible. 39 times God highlights the importance of love. (You can click the link to see all the love verses in John.)

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:8-10

Deepest need

In this vital commandment, Christ reveals our deepest need, highest goal, and greatest gift.

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