In Andy Stanley’s excellent new book, “Irresistible”, he puts forth a question which sums up how we are expected to live as followers of Christ. The question is, “What does love require of me?” This simple question brilliantly sums up what Jesus declared to be the greatest commandment of the law and the prophets (“Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind”), and His command for the new covenant (“Love your neighbor as yourself”) (see Matthew 22:36-40).
You can apply this question in every situation as you go throughout your day. It will change your interactions with people. It will alter your mood and transform your life. Oh, and it will drive you crazy!
The reason the question, “What does love require?” will drive you crazy is that it will cause you to do difficult things. You will find yourself giving up more and more of who you are, so you can more effectively love others. It won’t be easy, and you will feel your grasp of control continuously weakening. But then, isn’t this is the goal of our lives? We want less of ourselves and more of Jesus. Asking, “What does love require?” is at its core a restating of, “What would Jesus do if He were here right now?” While we may be able to rationalize away the second question by convincing ourselves Jesus is not here right now, we can’t escape the former question.
It is a happy coincidence that although I am writing this a couple of weeks before it will publish, I noted the scheduled publication date is Christmas Eve. It is obvious what love required of God. His love required Him to send His only Son to be born on earth and to live and die as a human so we might have a way to salvation. This was, of course, the ultimate expression of love. It sets a high bar for us. It is now our duty to live our days asking, “What does love require of me in this situation?” As we model the love of the Father, we continue the mission of Jesus in bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
When we are on the verge of an argument or engaged in a difficult conversation, we need to mentally pause and ask what love requires the next words from our mouth to be. When we see someone in need as we hustle from one appointment to the next, we need to ask, “What does love require of us?”, as it pertains to the needs of the individual in our path. And when we are tempted by the evil one to sin in any way, the most important question we could ask ourselves is, “What does love require of me at this moment?”
God loves you so much He sent His only Son to die in your place. He sent Him to live a life of humility and servanthood to set the example for how we must live each day of our own lives. I will never comprehend the love of God or how it is that God is love. Unlike us, love isn’t merely something God expresses, it’s the very essence of who He is. God cannot help but do what love requires Him to do because to do otherwise would be ungodly. We, on the other hand, must choose moment by moment. We must determine with every breath, “What does love require of me?”. And so, right now, right where you are, what is love requiring of you?