There is a practicality to Christ’s love which reaches beyond our feelings and affinities, transforming our actions and attitudes so that our entire being and future are changed. This far reaching love inevitably must extend to our neighbors otherwise it’s no love at all.
This means that we won’t merely want good things for others or pray for our enemies but it means we’ll refuse to hurt our enemies, protecting them from ourselves, and it mean we will give up our own good things so that others may have the good things we desire for them to possess even if it costs us everything. This means that the transformation of our character is tied up in and dependent upon the loving action we extend toward our neighbor.
All of this is the work of God through his Spirit within us. Christ's love is not only a cure for sin that completely washes our souls clean but the far reaching love of Christ is a transcendent power that transforms our very person, community, and world. It is like yeast in flour, eventually taking over the entire batch. That is the way of his kingdom. It is too powerful to be possessed and contained by any human. Either we have given ourselves to it or we have not.
If our love, religion, beliefs, or relationship with Christ (or whatever else you want to name it) stays isolated within ourselves it is a corrupting lie and not of God, for God is seeking to reconcile ALL things to himself and not merely the portions of our own selves which we want to give to him. An isolated and self-focused religion is the antithesis of Christ’s kingdom which is not something to be owned but something to be owned by. A love that does not transform every aspect of our lives is less than the love of God.
We must ask if we have given God our whole self, if Christ's love has affected every part of our lives. We must look to see if we have the fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5) and if our actions are proof of whether we have been overcome by the love of the self-sacrificing Christ or overcome by anything lesser. Is the love of Christ in our hands and feet through action as much as it is in his hands and feet which were pierced for us?