To carry out the Law of Christ here, we must first know what it is. James 2:8 tells us, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” When we bear other’s burdens in a way we would want to be treated, we are fulfilling the royal law of King Jesus. But what does this look like? It’s done with compassion and love in a nonjudgmental way…listening attentively and always speaking the truth of God’s word. It’s inspiring hope in places of sadness and always it’s done with integrity, and trustworthiness.
When a close friend takes the time to give you sincere advice…you listen. Why? Because first, they know you, what you’ve come through, and what is happening right now in your life. To you, they have credibility… for often they can perceive things you are blind to…or sadly, choose to be blind to. Finally, you trust them and their wise advice…for you know it comes from that deep place in their soul that loves and cares for you. I’ve just finished 30 classroom hours of Biblical Counseling and it has opened my eyes to how often we counsel people in our everyday walk. Just think how many times a day you minister to the hearts of family and friends with earnest counsel. So in a way, we are all Counselors…our arm around the person, pointing to the Cross.
This verse has been used out of context many times. But to look at it correctly, we must read the verse before it. In Ephesians 5:21 we are told to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. When we are subject to one another, we take on the heart of a servant…putting the needs of others first. In that context then, wives are submitting or placing in an orderly fashion the family unit…with all parties acting in the interest of another.
To love your neighbor as yourself, is an excellent example of unselfish love. It’s a love that isn’t contrived, plays favorites, or is narrow-minded simply because the person don’t look or act like us. Jesus Christ patterned this unselfish love for us… always looking on anyone He encountered with love and mercy. And since the Lord has shown such great mercy towards us…how can we not show this same mercy to others?
It’s easy to love those we have a natural affinity for. It’s not hard at all to love our family and those close to us. Nor is it difficult to love those we’re naturally attracted to. But what about those who are like sandpaper against our soul? What about the unlovely of the world…the disagreeable, repugnant, and unpleasant people who God has called us to love regardless? For Jesus didn’t add any exceptions when He told us to, “Love one another.” But when we have the love of God…the unconditional, Agape, love within, we are able to look beyond the exterior and love the unlovely.
Jesus wasn’t cocky or arrogant. Nor was He condescending, even though He had every right to act in this manner. Just imagine, God came down from heaven and willingly became nothing. He humbled Himself to the lowest of social status…a slave or servant, as an example for us to follow. Servant-hood is probably one of the hardest things to do and do well. Our selfish human nature would rather be waited on, rather than wait on others. And the whole humility and obedience thing is in direct contradiction with everything the world tells us to do. But it all starts with our attitude as the verse says. For we can bring under submission our bad attitudes and then take on the role of servant for His glory. We can extend His grace and mercy with genuine love and concern if we become humble and obedient… with Jesus as our guide.
Jesus says to us in John 15:4, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” For us, this means being rooted and established in the truth of the Gospel and trusting in the Lord daily. And from this will come a over-abundance of fruit in our life…of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)