Love Joyfully

By Erin Bird

For the past several weeks, I’ve been writing about loving generously, intentionally, humbly, and more.

But if I am honest, sometimes it is HARD to love. It isn’t always easy to love your kid when he or she is screaming. It isn’t easy to love that coworker who always takes the credit. It isn’t easy to love your crazy Uncle Joe who mocks anyone who disagrees with him.

And yet, Jesus didn’t love us when it was easy. He loved us when we were weak sinful enemies. Why? Because He created us in His image & likeness! And out of that love as our Creator, He did the most difficult thing a person can do: He gave His life for us.

But Jesus didn’t die for us out of a duty-type love. He went to the cross because of joy! I know that sounds crazy, but that is exactly what the author of Hebrews says:

“[Look] to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Now, don’t be mistaken; Jesus was not giddy with joy about the cross. He was so stressed while anticipating the crucifixion and bearing the sins of humanity, He was sweating blood the night before. Rather, His joy was you! He knew on the other side of the cross was a restored relationship with you, His image bearer.

So Jesus loved us joyfully. Which means, if we are going to “love like Jesus loved,” we are to love others joyfully while serving them, listening to them, speaking truth to them, and being present with them.

But what do you do when you don’t “feel” joy-filled while trying to love someone? First, pray. But as you pray, go ahead and do what you know God is calling you to do even when you don’t feel like doing it. Because oftentimes your emotions will change as you seek to love like Jesus.

So this week, seek to show someone love, but also ask God to help you do it with joy.