Loving others is one of the hardest things a Christian can do. Without the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we will struggle to love the undesirable and to forgive those who have hurt us. Love for one another is a sign that we have been cleansed of our sins. It is a sign that we belong to God and are obeying God. Love is not merely a feeling, but an act of the will submitted to Christ.

Jesus never allowed Himself to be manipulated or intimidated by those at the top of the social hierarchy. Instead of favoring the popular, the powerful, and the prosperous, He chose to identify with the poor, the gentle, and the meek. Jesus loved unconditionally, without partiality or favoritism, and in so doing, He fulfilled the law completely. We should love in the same way.

James sums it up like this: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:8-9).

It’s easy to love those who love us—but loving the unlovable, loving the ungrateful, loving the undeserving, and loving with no expectations are acts of true, sincere Christian love. The world is full of the kind of love that takes and seldom gives. Our love ought not to be like that—it should be rich, full, and bountiful.

The one thing that makes the world sit up and take notice is seeing Christians love as Christ loved. But as long as we judge and criticize one another as the world does, we will have no impact on the world.

How is God calling you to love radically today? Is He asking you to pray for someone who has hurt you or to extend the hand of friendship to an unlikely person? Pray today that God will reveal a new opportunity for you to show His great kindness and mercy. When He shows it to you, obey!

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to love and forgive as You do, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:46).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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