Most of us don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the supreme preference of one person for another. Spiritually, Jesus demands that our preference be for him (Luke 14:26). When the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the love of God, we easily place Jesus first. But we must also learn to work out what God has worked in: we must act on the love he has placed in our hearts.

Before we can do this, God has to knock our pretensions out of us. Through the Holy Spirit, he reveals to us why he loves us: not because we’re lovable, but because love is his nature. God asks us to show this same love to others. He brings people we neither like nor respect into our lives, then asks that we love them as he has loved us.

We can’t reach this kind of love on tiptoe. Some of us have tried, but we were soon exhausted by the effort. Look within and see how the Lord has dealt with you. The knowledge that God has loved you to the utmost—to the end of all your sin and selfishness and wrongness—will send you out into the world to love in the same way. God’s love for you is inexhaustible. You must love others from the bedrock of this love, not on tiptoe but in a great, abandoned leap.

Neither natural love nor divine love will remain unless you cultivate it. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained by discipline. Growth in grace stops the moment you get irritated. You get irritated because there is a person in your life you don’t particularly like. Just think how disagreeable you are to God! Are you prepared to be so closely identified with Jesus that his life and sweetness shine through you all the time?

Wisdom from Oswald

The attitude of a Christian towards the providential order in which he is placed is to recognize that God is behind it for purposes of His own.  Biblical Ethics, 99 R