Most of life is lived in the human flow of existence. The Lord tells us there is a “more excellent way” to live. Have you discovered the “more excellent way”? The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to love one another the way He has loved us. He goes on to say that as we accomplish this, all people will know that we are His disciples. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Our Lord did not make this as a suggestion. He clearly said, “A new commandment I give unto you” (John 13:34). This is the command. It is impossible to obey this command in our own strength. I find it difficult to love people the way I know I should, and harder even yet to love people the way God loves me.
God loves me. It is obvious if I am going to love others the way God loves me, I must know the love of God and express the love of God to others. It is possible to get all this right in my thinking and still never genuinely express this love to others.
This is not about saying, “I love you.” It is about living, “I love you.” In the English-speaking world, we say, “I love you.”
- In Russia, they say, “YA lyublyu tebya.”
- In France, they say, “Je t’aime.”
- In Germany, they say, “Ich liege dich.”
- In Japan, they say, “Watasha wa, anata o aishiteimasu.”
- In Spain, they say, “Te amo.”
The words may sound different in every language, but the expressions of that love are the same in every part of the world.
A More Excellent Way
Our Lord describes a way of life for us that brings us to “a more excellent way.” Ask God to open your understanding to “a more excellent way”(I Corinthians 12:31).
It is tempting to become content with the norm, but if we do, we will entirely miss what God calls “a more excellent way.” This life is above and beyond what this world offers. It is fulfilling. It is wider. It is deeper. It is given by our Lord, and it is available to us. Please do not settle for less than the “excellent way.”
This “more excellent way” is not only for my greatest good. It is the greatest blessing to those I love. It is for the greatest glory of my God!
Saying, “I love you,” is sweet, but it is not enough. If you have received eternal life, then you have access to God. Eternal life is the life of the Eternal One, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3). This means we have Christ in us, the hope of glory, and we possess the divine enabling we need to show to others the expressions of love that are required for the Christian life and the “more excellent way.”
The Lord identifies these expressions of love through the pen of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:1-13. Take the time to read and meditate upon this passage today.
In the fourth verse of this chapter, God’s Word begins speaking to us about charity. This word means love of the wonderful kind that proceeds from God. This love is not experienced until it is expressed. It cannot be expressed without the enabling of God. It is a fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Holy Spirit as one cluster of fruit with nine graces.
Love is at the top of the list of graces produced by the Spirit of God in our lives. If I am going to love others as my Lord desires me to love others, this will be produced by the Holy Spirit indwelling me.
In marriage, if I am going to love my wife the way God expects me to love my wife, I must love her as Christ loves us. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). We cannot love our wives to the same degree, but we can love them in the same way. The Lord Jesus told us He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
The Bible records in John 13:1, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Consider these words carefully: “He loved them unto the end.” How much this sounds like our wedding vow, “until death do us part.”
Paul writes, “Charity never faileth.” My expressions of love will mature as I grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says in I Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” My speech matures, my understanding matures, and my thoughts mature as I become a man.
We learn from God’s Word that even death does not destroy who we are. There is so very much for us to learn about this eternal life we possess in Christ Jesus. The only real life we have is eternal life. The same eternal life we have now is the eternal life we will have in heaven. We shall live it forever. We shall talk about it forever.
Somehow many Christians believe we are all going to be just alike in heaven. Remember, God says in I Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
As a Christian, I am a present possessor of eternal life. Because I have the life of the Eternal One, I am able to express the love of Christ to my darling wife. As a matter of fact, the Lord spells out these fifteen different ways I can express my love to her. Saying, “I love you,” is needed, but let us move beyond words to deeds and love the “more excellent way.”
Evelyn and I met and married more than half a century ago. Our entire adult lives have been given to one another in the wonderful work of the Lord. As we have grown in the Lord, our expressions of love have enlarged and deepened.
We can say, “I love you,” in many different ways, but our deeds are more important than our words. Our private lives tell the real story. Our loved ones are totally turned off by public expressions of love that are not lived out on a daily basis in private life.
Of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, one chapter is known as the “love chapter.” This is, of course, the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians. I encourage married couples to memorize this beautiful chapter together. It consists of thirteen verses. In this amazing chapter, we are given fifteen expressions of love. These are the real expressions of love.
- Love suffereth long.
- Love is kind.
- Love envieth not.
- Love vaunteth not itself.
- Love is not puffed up.
- Love doth not behave itself unseemly.
- Love seeketh not her own.
- Love is not easily provoked.
- Love thinketh no evil.
- Love rejoiceth not in iniquity.
- Love rejoiceth in the truth.
- Love beareth all things.
- Love believeth all things.
- Love hopeth all things.
- Love endureth all things.