By Daniel Fusco
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. -Ephesians 5:1-2
One of Jesus’ disciples and friends, John, writes in 1 John 4:
Friends, let’s love each other! Since love comes from God, we can know God by truly loving each other—just like a lack of love is a sign that we don’t know God. And we know God loves us like this: God sent his Son, Jesus, to live with us, and to love us, so that we could learn how to live and love in the same way. That’s one reason we ought to love each other . . . we might not be able to see God, but we can’t miss the evidence of God’s love all around us when we love each other.
Isn’t that a rad riff on love? My Italian grandmother cooks the way God does everything – with unbelievable love. And here’s the crazy part. She doesn’t cook with love after I tell her how much I enjoy her food—she cooks with love before anyone sits down to eat. Her love is preemptive, so it sweetens everything she prepares, no matter who is sitting down to eat it.
That’s exactly how it is with God. God loves us before we come to him. The Bible is chock-full of stories designed to tell us exactly that. Think of King David, the author of a ton of the psalms, who wrote a praise song (Psalm 139) about how God knew him and loved him while he was still in his mother’s womb. Or think of how Jesus, along with God the Father and God the Spirit, set in motion the rescue plan for humanity before you or I even existed.
See what’s going on? Love comes from God. When we love each other, we’re showing each other that we’ve had a taste of what God is like. And when we love each other preemptively, we’re giving the world—strangers, neighbors, enemies, and absolutely everybody—a picture of God. Here’s what we’re chasing. Love is meant to be experienced. Love Supreme is not just an idea or a concept. It’s real, it’s lived, it stirs our emotions. It makes us lose our minds sometimes for those we love, because our hearts are so full. Look, it doesn’t matter who is coming over for dinner. Family, friends, strangers . . . even enemies. What matters is that we cook with love, ahead of time, just in case, because that’s the way to taste a Love Supreme.
As followers of Jesus, we should be known by our love. As Christian leaders, even more so. We must lead in such a way that God is glorified and people are blessed. But oftentimes, we forget that we are to love in a preemptive and proactive way. If you are like me, you catch yourself being reactive rather than proactive. You find yourself returning love for love received. But God wants to show us a more excellent way and lead us down a more excellent path. Let us love first. Let us love last. Let us love no matter what. Until the world can taste a Love Supreme.
How will your leadership change if your goal is to be known by Jesus’ love?
How can I be more proactive to love others?
What changes must be made to allow your life to be a vehicle for God’s love to enter the world?
Daniel Fusco is the Lead Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA and author of Honestly: Getting Real About Jesus and Our Messy Lives