Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

3 Ways the Love of Jesus Should Change You

3 Ways the Love of Jesus Should Change You

Some of the most memorable passages from the Gospels are those in which Jesus gives his disciples direct commands. We know that when Jesus gets right to the point and says do this - he means business! One example of where Jesus gives Peter a direct command comes from the Gospel of John.

John 21:17 says, "The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?'" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Jesus explains that if Peter loved Jesus, then he would give his life to feeding his sheep.

Can you hear the urgency in Jesus' question for Peter? The tenderness in the way he pushes Peter past his failure of denying Jesus and into living a life that continues to honor Jesus? After reading this exchange, we can all start to see God's heart of love for humanity. He desires Christ-followers to be people who live in service of others!

This is a question we can ask ourselves. Do we love Jesus? If so, then what? How should our love for Christ change us? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but the Bible does give us some principles that we can use to guide how we choose to live our lives.

Let’s explore some ways how God’s love should transform our lives.

1. Jesus' Love Compels Us to Act

In John 21 we read that Jesus is sharing with Peter and the disciples, who are huddled around a breakfast fire, that loving him was going to require action on their end. Loving Jesus looks like "feeding his sheep." His words must have been compelling because these men went out from these precious encounters with Jesus before he ascended to Heaven, and they all gave their lives to grow the early church.

Christians are not saved by works, but our faith is lived out through the story that we choose to tell with our lives (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are called to love our neighbor as Jesus loves them (John 13:34). This is a high standard for us as the body of Christ to live up to!

When we step back to evaluate our choices, Jesus' words should push us towards relentless love. Following Jesus' command to love others, to feed his sheep, and to share his good news with the world, we find ourselves doing things that go against the grain of our self-serving culture. Genuine faith in Jesus compels loving action.

2. Jesus' Love Compels Us to Share the Gospel

To “feed my sheep" can be translated into "to give food," but the word used implies more than just physically feeding others. The text is pointing to Peter to take on the role of a shepherd, who would guide, watch, and defend the sheep as well as feed them. "My Sheep" commonly refers to the church throughout the Bible.

Jesus instructed all his disciples not only to be fishers of men by sharing the good news of the gospel with the world, but feeders of the flock by the edification of saints. We each can take this charge to care for the church to heart.

How can we better serve one another and our church communities? How can we be people who go after the one lost sheep? These are questions that all believers have to prayerfully consider as they choose how to spend their days here on Earth.

Loving Jesus means we want his family to expand! There grows in us a genuine desire to share the Good News of God's love with everyone who we love. Knowing Jesus is a gift far too great to keep just to ourselves.

3. Jesus' Love Compels Us to Be Connected to a Faith Community

In our fast-paced culture, it can be easy to come up with many valid reasons not to attend church or take time to gather with other believers, but the Bible encourages us not to neglect being a part of a faith community.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

The church has never been perfect. Basically, from its creation, there were disagreements between church leaders or problems with the ways those in the community chose to behave (just check out 1 Corinthians). Nonetheless, the church is God's chosen bride.

Jesus tells Peter to invest in his church and describes Peter as the rock he will build his church on. The Bible tells us that the church is the place we can find encouragement. The church is the place where we can experience more of God’s tangible presence in our lives (Matthew 18:20).

As those who love Jesus, we should be people invested in a faith community. The church is the place where we are able to rub shoulders with other believers, find the support we need to gain freedom in our lives, and make an impact in our communities through our service and love. When we love Jesus, we also should be people who find ways to love his imperfect, but still beautiful, bride.

Ultimately, the love of Jesus will transform every part of our lives, from the types of things we consume to the way we treat others, and even impacts the priorities that we have in our lives. Following Jesus is an immersive experience; there is no part of our lives left untouched by his words. That’s the beauty of being in his family; his work is never done as long as we have breath. No matter where you are in your life, you can find hope in the fact that Jesus is still working and moving on your behalf. His love should always compel you to move closer to him every day.

Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God's Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.