How To Love the Church Like God Does
Let’s stop and consider just how much God/Jesus really does love the church, and in doing so, we soon discover that loving the church as Jesus does is a pretty tall order. In the Song of Solomon 1:15, the bridegroom tells his bride, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how very beautiful!” If the Song of Solomon is viewed as an allegorical portrayal of Jesus and His bride, the church, we see that Jesus has great affection for the church. He doesn’t see an ugly bunch of sinners. He sees the church, His beloved bride, through a lens of love.
Ephesians 5:25 gives us another example, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Jesus’ love for the church is so profound that He endured great suffering and loss of life so that His bride, the church, could be redeemed. John 15:13 explains just how deep this love is, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” This is truly a great love!
Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy; it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not easily angered; it keeps no account of wrongs. 1Cor 13:4-5
God’s Love is …
God loves the church with agape love – the purest, deepest, and most meaningful form of love. It’s unconditional, asking nothing of the person to which it is given. How can we demonstrate agape love to the church body and to its individual members?
Put Others Before Yourself
Just as Jesus put our need for redemption, even before His own desire to live, we must be willing to put our needs and desires aside when it will benefit others.
Agape love is not self-seeking. It’s generous, giving freely and willingly to others. Be generous with your wealth and time, providing help when it’s needed. Be empathetic and sympathetic, providing emotional support and a shoulder to cry on.
Agape love is patient. If we love the church as God does, we’ll have patience when dealing with others. Even when we’re busy or going through difficult times ourselves, we need to demonstrate patience in our responses and actions towards others. And, when they’re busy or going through hard times, we should support them and give them the time they need to complete their activities.
Be an Encourager
Agape love isn’t jealous or envious. It doesn’t boast. Be a cheerleader for others, encouraging them to greatness and celebrating their accomplishments when they reach their goals.
How To Love the Church As God Does
Agape love can be hard for us mere humans. Take time to practice and nurture it daily. Pray for God’s assistance when you fall short. In the practice of agape love, we present ourselves as a living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Rom 12:1) And, best of all, agape love within the body should be reciprocal. Everyone in the church body should be willing to sacrifice for the other’s good. All parties should provide support and encouragement.