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What does it mean to do something actively? In my research I found that it can be described as doing something deliberately and vigorously. God has shown us that He loves us deliberately and vigorously. Therefore, God actively loves us, and calls us to actively love others.

In the Bible we can see God’s deliberate love for us in the intentionality of Him sending His Son to die for us. This was not something that just kind of happened, rather God had designed an intricate beautiful plan to reconcile His creation back to His heart. He created us and loves us, and in our flesh we chose sin, so He had to bridge the gap that was in between us and Him. When Christ came and fulfilled every prophecy, lived a perfect holy life, and took the punishment for our sin on the cross he became a bridge over the gap that sin created. Our acceptance of Him allows us to come back to God despite our sin. This is the gospel, and this is the grandest gesture of active love imaginable. So how does this impact our daily lives and help us to actively love? We follow His example. You can share the gospel with someone every day, sometimes without saying a word. Your life is a reflection of the gospel to everyone you encounter. 

Now this can be difficult because we typically don’t encounter opportunities to lay down our lives for our friends and family literally, but there are ways that we can deliberately love them similarly to how God deliberately loved us. Practically, because I am a college student, this may look different in your life than in mine. However, I know that some people who read this may be looking for realistic ways to love their friends in college so here are some of the ways that I attempt to exercise this active love that God has shown me.

  • Sticker Notes: Now this may sound silly, but my friends and I all invested in stickers and began writing little notes to each other with fun stickers that reminded us of each other. Each note was like a token of intentionality. After I wrote to my friends, I had so many extra stickers so I thought why limit myself to just my close friends, why not give these to everyone? So I started writing them to a lot of people, even people I had barely talked to, and it created opportunities for me to become better friends with them, and hopefully make their day more encouraging. 
  • Turn Down Service: This works the best if you have roommates. Personally I live in a house with a lot of girls, so when people are coming home late I try to clean their room and un-make their bed so it is ready for them to sleep in when they get home. The same goes for if they get up early for something, I will make their bed so when they get back they don’t have to. It’s very simple, but when my friends do it for me I feel very loved and cared for. Reducing another person’s to-do list, even by one thing, is impactful. 
  • Matching Excitement: This is more of a state of mind, but I think one of the most damaging things that someone can do in a relationship is “yuck someone’s yum”. What I mean by this is that, I try to never be the person that makes anyone feel bad or lame for something they are passionate about. Instead, my friends and I typically attempt to match that excitement with each other. For example, two of my best friends are very musical and love to play guitar and piano, and instead of not engaging when they talk about it or play, I found my old guitar and asked them to teach me. Now we all play together all the time, because instead of putting them down I tried to build them up and asked them to help me. People love an excuse to talk about what they are passionate about, so matching others’ excitement shows them that you care and want to hear about what things have captured their heart. Not only that, but then if I am given the chance to talk about what I am passionate about, I have an opportunity to tell them about my faith.

In addition to God loving us deliberately, He loves us vigorously, powerfully, eagerly, and enthusiastically. The best example I can think of where we see this in the Bible is in the sending of Jesus to earth. We got to see how He eagerly loved the people around Him in His everyday life. In John 4, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well is told. At this time women and Samaritans were outcasts already, on top of the fact that this woman was at the well around noon (a time that no one went to draw water because of the heat) which meant that she was avoiding other women in her own town, making her an outcast of the outcasts. Yet, Jesus made the decision to take a harder trip to his destination to ensure that He would meet this woman at the well. He was eager to love her, eager to quench her spiritual thirst with living water, eager to remind her that she can’t earn the love of God but it is freely given to her despite what she has done. She was the first person that He told that He was the Messiah. What a picture of enthusiastic and vigorous love.

God wants us to love people this way, so that we can experience giving active love to others the same way that He gives it to us. Life is so much fuller when you go all out in love. What is the benefit of censored love except safety, and is it better to be safe or to experience the fullness of love which includes vulnerability? For example, my friends and I decided to do secret santa for Christmas this year, but with a twist. We called it surprise Christmas and we started this in August. As months went on we accumulated little trinkets and gifts for the person we had drawn, and then we decided on which week to give the presents to each other. Instead of exchanging gifts all at the same time, we were allowed to choose any time, day or night, to surprise our person with their gift. I can’t explain how much this leveled up the gift giving experience, and it showcased everyone’s excitement for each other. It was an idea that made us all extremely more excited to give than to receive, and it propelled us to love each other better because for five months we were listening intently to what the other person needed. It was one of the best experiences of eager and enthusiastic love I have ever had.

Active love is not an easy calling, but it is who Christ is. If I am attempting to use my life to make Christ more known, then active love is something I want to be engaging in daily. With that being said, I hope you feel challenged and encouraged with the idea of actively loving the people God has put in your life. And as a reminder you yourself are actively, eagerly, deliberately, and intentionally loved by the creator of the universe. He calls us heirs to His kingdom, and we don’t have to do anything but accept his love in the form of Christ! Now let’s go love people! 

Macy is a college student who is involved in greek life and Doulos which is a greek life ministry. She is also a spicy uno enthusiast, a lover of marine life and chocolate covered gummy bears, and a friend.

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Macy Laegeler

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