In Galatians, Paul writes that he has identified himself so completely with Christ that he has been crucified with him. His ego is no longer central. The life he lives is not his own but Christ living through him.
Often we ask how we learn to love one another? And I think the simplest answer is we don't, we let Christ love through us. As humans we lack knowledge in what real love looks like, in what sacrifice costs, in patience, in generosity, in service... As many times as we try to represent Christ's name without His spirit we fail Him.
This doesn't mean we become apathetic and make excuses for our sinful nature it simply means we switch motives. We stop thinking how can I do this or that.. and we start praying Crucify me Jesus so that my selfishness dies and your spirit lives.
Oswald Chambers writes that "Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26)...
The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline."
Paul's counsel is this: To Live freely, animated, and motivated by God's spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical , so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Message)
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage, frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all consuming yet never satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community (Galations 5:19-21). These are the manifestations of selfishness and seeking after what we want. We see plenty of examples of lives today ruined by selfish pursuits.
Yet a narrower path and less common life of love reaps entirely different results. By loving someone through Jesus, we have the power to change their life, to heal their wounds. To free prisoners of anxiety, guilt, or shame from Satan's chains of bondage. To heal in the name of Jesus by showing how much we care and taking the time to touch someone else.
Christ asks us everyday will you let me crucify you so I can love through you? Will you trust me and give when you have nothing left? Will you fulfill the needs of someone else without thinking of what you want? Will you spend time with me in my word and through prayer so I can transform your heart and take away your worldly desires?
And when we let Him day by day destroy our idols, take away our old desires and selfish thoughts, we will find a joy and hope unexplainable and find ourselves in awe at the most amazing transformation by the loving Father of the universe.