“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2 NKJV).
Christianity is essentially a call to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a contradiction to claim to know Jesus Christ and not follow His examples.
The believers are called to be followers of Jesus Christ. The believer’s goal must be to walk just as Jesus had walked.
The Scripture states, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6 NKJV).
How did Jesus walk while in the world?
Simply put, Jesus walked in love!
All that the Lord Jesus said and did while He was in the world was a clear revelation, expression and demonstration of God’s love towards all men.
Contrary to the style, mindset and expectation of the self-righteous religious leaders of His days, the Lord Jesus sat and ate with sinners. While in the world, the Lord Jesus was rightly referred to as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Luke 7:34 NKJV).
The Pharisees were perplexed to see Jesus sitting and eating with sinners. They could not understand why Jesus who claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of the Most Holy God, was a friend of sinners.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (NKJV).
When the Lord Jesus went to dine with Zacchaeus, the self-righteous religious leaders complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7 NKJV).
But, not only did the Lord Jesus sit and eat with sinners, He also allowed sinners to touch Him, and did not condemn sinners when they came to Him. He even rescued a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery (John 8:1-11).
One day, while the Lord Jesus was at the table in a Pharisee’s house, who invited Jesus to come and eat with him, a remarkable incidence happened which greatly baffled the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house.
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.
37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,
38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner. (NKJV).
The Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house was so shocked and perplexed at the sight of a notable sinner in the city anointing Jesus’ feet with the fragrant oil, wiping them with the hair of her head and kissing them.
Not only did Jesus demonstrate God’s unconditional and unfailing love towards the undeserving people by His life, He ultimately revealed God’s love towards all men by His suffering and death on the cross as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
1 John 3:
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (NKJV).
1 John 4:
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
10 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. (NKJV).
The Lord Jesus Christ is undoubtedly the Perfect Model and Example of love for the believers (John 13:13-15, 1 Pet. 2:21).
A call to be a follower of Jesus is simply a call to walk in love as Jesus did. It is essentially a call to love others as Jesus has loved you.
1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (NKJV).
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NKJV).
How can you walk in love just as Jesus did while in the world?
First, you cannot walk in God’s kind of love (agape) without having God’s kind of Life and Nature.
God’s pure, sacrificial, selfless, unconditional, unfailing and unending love is alien to our human, fallen and depraved nature.
Every one of us was born with a sinful and selfish nature. Therefore, until you become a partaker of God’s holy and loving nature through spiritual birth or regeneration you cannot walk in love as Jesus did (John 3:6, 2 Cor. 5:17).
Second, you cannot walk in God’s love without you firmly believing in God’s love for you and receiving an outpouring of God’s love into your heart.
You cannot give or share what you don’t have. It takes you knowing, receiving and experiencing God’s love to walk in love as Jesus did.
You cannot begin to walk in God’s love until you are first rooted, grounded or established in God’s love for you.
The Lord Jesus was undoubtedly rooted, grounded and established in His Father’s love for Him. He confidently, publicly and clearly declared to the Jewish leaders who hated him many times that His Father loved Him deeply and completely.
35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (NKJV).
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. (NKJV).
9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. (NKJV).
You must also be confident in God’s unfailing and everlasting love for you (Jer. 31:3). You must believe that God loves you deeply and completely, even as He loves Jesus (John 17:23).
Many believers today are not walking in love simply because they are not rooted, grounded or established in God’s love for them.
Without you having a personal revelation knowledge or practical experience of God’s love, it is impossible for you to walk in love as Jesus did.
It takes you experiencing God’s love to express it to others. It takes you knowing God’s love to make it known to others. It takes you receiving God’s love to share it with others.
God’s love is infinite and inexhaustible; the more of its supply you receive, the more it will flow in and through your life. You cannot walk in love beyond the depth of your personal revelation and experience of God’s love.
The deeper you know, receive and experience God’s love, the better you will manifest God’s love effortlessly. The more you focus and meditate on God’s love for you, the more God’s love will flow naturally through you.
Lastly, you cannot walk in love just as Jesus did without renewing or resetting your carnal or natural mind.
You were born with a carnal mind that is set on pleasing yourself above anyone else (Rom. 8:5). Therefore, unless you consciously and consistently seek to renew, sanctify or reset this mind, it will hinder the outflow of God’s love which the Holy Spirit has poured out in your heart at the new birth.
When you begin to renew your mind according to the teaching of Christ, your mindset will be progressively changed from self to Christ, and you will begin to place others ahead of you in all things, just as Jesus did (1 Cor. 10:24, Philip. 2:4-5).
Beloved, unless you dethrone self in your mind, you will not be able to walk in God’s kind of love which is selfless and sacrificial.
How do you dethrone self in your mind?
Simply by enthroning Christ in your mind!
John the Baptist reveals, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV).
When you begin to focus and meditate more on the words or teaching of Christ, and begin to let His words, thoughts, values, principles and teaching fill, dominate, and preoccupy your mind; Christ will begin to increase in your mind and self will naturally begin to decrease.
Friend, you cannot dethrone or decrease self in your mind by becoming more self-conscious, but rather by becoming more Christ-conscious.
The more you spend quality time with Christ daily, reading, studying, imbibing and meditating in His Word, the more Christ will increase in your mind and the more self will decrease in your mind, and thus the more God’s love will flow through you to others.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me deeply, completely, infinitely and unconditionally. Dear Holy Spirit, help me to increase in the revelation knowledge of God’s love for me in Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.