How do I love Jesus? Let me count the ways: he’s kind, gentle, humble, generous, full of joy (he smiles a lot), good, faithful, caring (he’s the Good Shepherd) and he loves us unconditionally. I’m sure there is more about him to love, and perhaps you’ve been able to add to the list. I want to switch to how what we love about Jesus can become part of who we are as well.
God is the only one who is good (Mark 10:18) so it follows that any good we see in ourselves or each other must necessarily come from him. Paul told us to be imitators of Christ, just as he was (1 Corinthians 11:1). This seems an impossible task, but he doesn’t leave us hanging. Jesus is so generous he shares who he is with us, including his kindness, goodness, gentleness, humility, joy, faith and love. We don’t have to come up with ways to make ourselves more like him. We could never do that no matter how hard we try – we know it and so does he.
What we can do, through grace which enables us, “by virtue of his indwelling life for us, [is] to live his life because he’s expressing it through us, not because we’re doing it for him” (Steve McVey, Trinitarian Conversations, Volume 2, Interviews with More Theologians [You’re Included], Grace Communion International – available on Amazon).
He expresses his love, kindness and gentleness as he lives in us and we live in him. It doesn’t happen by fiat of course but as we get to know him, learn to trust him more and practice dying to ourselves. As Paul indicated, imitating Jesus is a lifelong pursuit, but it’s worth all our energy, might and love.