I shared in today’s message a whole list of ways in which we can walk out this command to, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other…” (Romans 8:3). This list came from Paul Tripp’s book, Broken Down House. I don’t know about you, but it helps me see the various ways I can walk this out. Cross-shaped love means…
It means not keeping yourself so busy with you and yours that you have no practical time to love others.
It means being committed to knowing people, because you can minister only in a very limited way to those you do not know.
It means being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others.
It means being willing to share your physical resources with others.
It means being willing to live with an open home.
It means being perseverant and patient even when the love you give is not returned.
It means actively looking for places where you can function as one of God’s tools of love.
It means resisting the temptation to be judgmental, self-righteous and critical.
It means overlooking minor offences and fighting the temptation to become bitter or cynical.
It means making life decisions out of a recognition of this inescapable call to love.
It means being lovingly and humbly honest in moments of misunderstanding; more committed to reconciliation than to being right.
It means admitting that you are still learning to love as you have been loved.
It means being willing to own up to your own sins and admit your faults.
It means not judging the success of your life by the size of your house or bank account, or by the quality of your car, but by the quality of your love for God and others.
It means regularly examining the motivations, desires and thoughts of your heart in the mirror of God’s Word.
It means moving beyond simply surrounding yourself with people whom you find comfortable and likeable.
It means being a student of God’s Word, a joyful participant in the means of grace, and a committed participant in the fellowship of the body of Christ, so that the love you offer others may be increasingly pure and mature.
It means being willing to be misunderstood, mistreated, and misrepresented for the sake of incarnating Christ’s love.
It means overcoming evil with good.
It means not letting race, social class, gender, age, or ethnicity get in the way of the biblical call to Christlike love.
It means being willing to have your schedule and plans interrupted or altered.
It menas being willing to grant and receive forgiveness.
It means paying attention to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people God puts in your path, and looking for ways to help them bear these burdens.
It means believing that God will not call you to a task without giving you what you need to accomplish it.
It means being willing to get up earlier and stay up later.
It means learning the details about someone’s struggle so that you can love wisely, while at the same time guarding the reputation of the person you are loving.
It means weeping with the one who weeps and rejoicing with the one who rejoices.
It means being willing to endure tense and uncomfortable situations lovingly.
It means not allowing yourself plausible excuses that seemingly free you from love’s call.
It means making a committment to being a faithful friend.
It means being willing to take on big things, even as you humbly accept your limits.
It means being open to correction, loving criticism, and godly rebuke.
It means believing in the body of Christ and recognizing that you are but one of the tools in God’s big toolbox of redemption.
It means being open to counsel and receptive to advice.
It means being willing to go to bed tired and to awake to another day of calling.
It means hiding God’s Word in your heart and keeping him kingdom always before your eyes.
It means refusing to become anyone’s substitute messiah, but instead to point people to the presence and grace of Jesus.
It really does mean looking out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others. It means building relationships, not just for the purpose of being relationally comfortable, but so that those relationships would be a workroom for redemption. It means loving people in such a way that they never feel like they are in debt to you.
It means remembering that you are more like than unlike the people you are called to love. It means understanding that the call to love is a call to both word and deed.
It means daily remembering Jesus, being in awe of the gift of his love, and living thankfully.
 Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House (Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2009), 172-174.