Whose Way DOES Love Insist On?

The apostle Paul wrote, “Love does not insist on its own way…” (1 Corinthians 13:5).  Jesus described himself as “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:28-30) and said that he had come to earth “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28)  Why, then did he openly disagree with people and why did he refuse requests that were made of him?  Why did he insist on doing things that his companions did not understand or approve of? If his purpose was to serve, shouldn’t he have been more yielding and willing to compromise?

This line of reasoning overlooks the all-important question: whom did he serve? During the era when Jesus walked on earth, the word “servant” was not just a metaphor. Many people actually worked as servants and it was understood that each of them was accountable to a single master. If a master sent his servant on an errand, he expected the person to complete the job and return without stopping to do the bidding of other folks along the way. When Jesus described himself as a servant, he didn’t mean that he was placing himself at the whims of everyone around him.  He had a specific Master to whom he was accountable.  This fact is confirmed by Jesus’ statements in the Gospel of John:

“I can do nothing on my own authority…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”  (John 5:30)

I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me…” (John 5:30)

See also John 7: 16 & 17 .

Jesus did not insist on his own way.  But rather than bowing to the wishes of one and all, he chose to follow a single leader.  This fact offers hope for Christians who are worn out from trying to satisfy dozens of contradictory human “masters.”  We don’t have to please everyone. If we want to be like  Jesus, we must hold ourselves accountable to just one Master.

Unassertive Christians are right to reject self-gratification and self-glorification.  Our mistake has been only in our choice of masters. Submissiveness has value only if one submits to the right leader.

When Jesus walked on earth,  his steps were sure and his vision clear, because he knew exactly who he was following.  Read next section…