To wrap up our discussion on agape love and death to self, I want to encourage you with one final thought: it’s not your job to love everyone! I can almost hear some of you gasp as I write this, but it’s important to know and understand that Jesus never said to go out and love the entire world. Why? Because that’s impossible for us as humans; we are not God and therefore we can’t conceivably love everyone. We can, however, love everyone who’s near us, and that’s what we should do. It’s the Lord’s job to love the world and it’s your job to love your neighbor. Just love the people who are within the 15-feet of space around you at all times! You may recall that I have preached on this concept in the past.
This coming week, in an effort to apply what we’ve learned about agape love, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to bring someone to your mind and then go out of your way to intentionally love them. Whether it’s your spouse, your child, your mom or your dad, pick one person and allow Jesus to work in you to enable you to love them just as they are, not as you want them to be. No matter which buttons they push or how much they disappoint you, walk with the Lord moment-by-moment and take a loving posture towards them. Dig down deep, do the hard work, and be thankful for them in every circumstance. Be empathetic towards them in their struggles. Allow your heart to be filled with compassion so that your interactions are motivated by grace and gratitude. I promise that as you do this, Jesus will be more evident to them in you than ever before!
Friend, free yourself from the pressure you feel to love the whole world and simply love someone well. As you learn to walk in agape love towards the ones closest to you, you will find that loving your neighbors, even the strangers around you, will get easier. Love feeds on itself and the intentional effort you make to do it well will multiply and manifest the Holy Spirit’s work in your life in impactful ways. There is power in loving strong and selflessly, so I encourage you to go after it. Humble yourself, dethrone your passions, and let Jesus shine His healing glory on others through your crucified flesh!