It is obviously a big mistake to think that Jesus only came to provide us an example of what it looks like to be a loving person. On the other hand it would be a pretty big mistake not to recognize that one of God's purposes in sending Jesus to die on the cross was in fact to show us what love looks like.
"Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…" (Eph.5:1,2) "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." (1 John 3:16) "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps."
The question is, what does it look like to follow Jesus example of sacrificial love? It's easy enough to say that I want to love like Jesus, but how can I evaluate myself as to whether or not I really am living and loving like Jesus.
I've found the following questions to be of help: (If you want, you can try to figure out the verse I base each question on…)
How do I respond when suffering unjustly?
Do I retaliate?
Do I say mean things when people say mean things to me?
Do I threaten people when I am scared they are going to do something I don't like?
Do I believe that God is going to do what is right even when people are treating me poorly?
Do I look out for the good of the person who is treating me poorly?
When was the last time I did good to someone who did something unkind to me?
Do I manipulate people to get what I want?
Do I view suffering as an opportunity to glorify Christ?
Do I lay down my life for people I know?
Do I ever make sacrifices for others?
What sacrifices have I made this week?
Is there someone I know who is in need that I'm not doing anything about?
Is there anything I can give to anyone this week?
Do I keep my motives pure when doing good to others?
Do I often pray for others?
Am I the kind of person people feel free to come to when they are in need?
When someone asks me to do something I don't like, do I make it obvious to them I don't like it?
Am I welcoming to people I don't know?
Am I willing to risk rejection to do what's right for another person?
When was the last time I risked someone's disapproval to help them spiritually?
Do I seek to have the same attitude towards others as Jesus?
Do I do things just to put other people down?
Is there someone I would like to see humiliated, or 'get there's?'
Do I find secret pleasure when I hear about a particular person I don't like doing poorly?
Do I say things just to get people to think better of me?
Do I do things to get people to think I'm really something?
Do I get upset when I am not the center of attention?
Do I pay more attention to people who make me look good or who can do things for me than I do to people who can't do much for me or who perhaps might even make me look bad?
When I'm talking to someone do I enjoy listening?
Do I remember what others have said to me later?
Do people go away from times with me knowing I care for them?
Do I speak to people in ways that I wouldn't like to be spoken to myself?
When was the last time I belittled someone in a conversation?
Do I ever think about how to help someone accomplish their goals?
Do I know what the spiritual goals are of people close to me and have I made efforts to enable them to accomplish those goals?
Am I constantly concerned about what other people are thinking about me?
Do I get upset when people don't think I'm important?
Do I constantly seek out recognition?
Do I often complain that people just aren't treating me the way I deserve?
Do I enjoy serving?
What ways can I serve others this week?
Do I serve joyfully even when serving hurts?
When was the last time I served someone when it did it hurt?
Do I normally stop serving others when it starts to hurt?
Do I give myself for others?
How do I respond when someone invades my personal time?
Am I willing and even glad to find myself disadvantaged for the purpose of others experiencing advantage?
Do I ever put myself in a risky position for others?
What would it look like for me to do that?
Do I have a concern about other people's financial condition?
When I receiven extra money what's the first thing I want to do with it?
Do I love to give?
Am I willing to go without so that others don't have to?
When was the last time I gave spontaneously and anonymously to someone that was in need?
What limits are there to my giving?
Do I often say to myself, I would give if I just had more money?
Do I treat others well only if they treat me well?
Do I respond to others on the basis of the way they respond to me?
Am I quick to forgive?
Do I constantly judge people's motives?
Am I unwilling to forgive if I don't think the other person has earned it?
Am I unwilling to forgive if I don't think the other person deserves it?
Do I make people work for what I would call forgiveness?
Do I often bring up things people have done to me in the past in order to make them feel bad?
Who are the people I have affection for?
Are any of the people I care for most, unlovely people?
Do I have a real affection for anyone outside my immediate family?
Do I often find myself thinking positive thoughts about other people?
When there is a lull in the conversation in my home, does the conversation turn to negative things about other people?
Do I find people gossiping to me alot?
Do I find myself saying, "nobody's reaching out to me…" alot?
Am I quick to pass the blame for the way I act to others?
What do I want for others?
Do I ever find myself wishing that good would happen to someone else?
When was the last time I was genuinely sad for something that happened to someone else?
When was the last time I was genuinely happy for something that happened to someone else?
When someone shares something good that has happened to them, do I rejoice or am I quick to think they are proud for sharing it with me?
Am I critical person?