If you’ve been in Christian circles long enough, you’ve probably heard someone say that we should love like Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I like to question nearly everything I hear. I know being kind and loving is the right thing, but I rarely hear why. There are many motivations to love others like Jesus, but I’d like to help you fix your gaze on a foundational one.
In Paul’s letters, there’s a recurring theme present in all of his writing. He constantly uses the word or phrase of being “in” Christ. But why would he say that? I think his emphasis on being in or united to Christ originates from his conversion story in the book of Acts. When Paul (or Saul) is on the road to Damascus, he has a miraculous encounter with Jesus Christ himself. Jesus appears before Paul, knocks him to the ground, blinds him, and starts questioning why he’s persecuting Christians so violently. He uses very particular language when talking about who Paul is actually affecting when he’s hurting Christians by saying, “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Was Jesus himself literally being murdered or hurt by Paul? No, he had already ascended to the right hand of the Father by this time. Saying this points to the greater spiritual reality that he unites and remains with his people by the power of his own Spirit. Everything we experience in life, Jesus endured with us in every moment. He did this because of his great love for us, as Paul illustrates in the book of Galatians:
I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me.
— Galatians 2:20
Every single step in our walk with God was marked by being united with Jesus, and us being united with him. His death was our death, his life was our life, and his love is our love. No moment in your life has been wasted because every moment has been shared by Christ himself. So rest in his gentle yet sturdy arms, knowing that you are eternally safe with him. He is with you, in you, and spurring you on to, through your life and devotion to the world around you, mirror the very love that he’s given.