how to cultivate selfless, unconditional love

How to Cultivate Selfless, Unconditional Love

John 13:34 

Jesus is going to be crucified, and Judas is about to betray Him. 

Knowing all of this, Jesus takes off His outer garments, ties a towel around His waist, and fills a basin with water. The Lord of Glory washed the smelly feet of this motley crew of disciples. (Read John 13:3-5). Then He said,

John 13:15,34

I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you…. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 

Selfless Love

Self-love, self-esteem, self-glory, self-fulfillment—our society is based on being preoccupied with ourselves.

Yet we see Christ humbling Himself and doing the labor of a slave. When He “rose from supper and laid aside His garments” (John 13:4a), that was what He literally did, but it is also symbolic of when He stepped out of His glory in Heaven and came to Earth. He humbled Himself. He became obedient. Real greatness is service. (Read Luke 22:24-26.)

Humility is not thinking lowly of yourself. Jesus, knowing who He was (see John 13:3), washed His disciples’ feet. The grace of God exalts a man without inflating him, and it humbles a man without debasing him. 

Love Under Pressure

John 13:1

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

Examine the lives of the disciples: they were not all that lovely at this time. Peter was about to curse and deny Jesus. (See Matthew 26:69-75.) James and John are talking about who’s going to be the greatest in the kingdom. (See Matthew 20:20-24.) They were filled with fear. But Jesus kept loving them.

Many times we excuse ourselves for being irritable if we are tired, worn out, or had a hard day. “If you knew what I’ve been through…”

Jesus, facing the cross, showed love. If your so-called love cannot stand the test of excruciating times, you don’t have real love at all. If you want to know what you are full of, see what spills out when you get jostled. 

God does not love us because we are lovely; He loves us because of His grace. (Read Romans 8:38-39.)

Christ’s Example of Unconditional Love

1 John 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Real love knows no job too small, or too lowly. Jesus knew that soon, Judas was going to betray Him with a kiss, and still He washed Judas’ feet.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44).

Unconditional love means giving people what they need; not giving them what they deserve. These disciples did not deserve to have their feet washed. But Jesus knew the love they needed. 

Imagine Jesus came in bodily form now. Suppose He were to hand you the basin and say, “Will you wash my feet?” You would say, “Gladly, Lord!”

So: will you wash His feet?

Matthew 25:40

And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” 

Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian...

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