Thank you for tuning in to the Live to Love with Jesus Blog for January, 2022. I invite you to join me as we continue to consider how our minds need to be renewed about relationships. If we are going to live to love with Jesus, we should think like He thinks about relationships. The past two months, we learned that the value of relationships isn’t dependent upon what we get from them and that the value of a person is that his or her presence gives us an opportunity to know, experience, and express God’s love, revealed through Jesus Christ. I hope you’ve been renewing your minds to incorporate these first two “love thoughts.”
As we consider a third “love thought,” we remind ourselves that supernatural love can only flow from supernatural thinking. We know His thoughts are not like our natural thoughts. His ways are not like our ways. Therefore, we expect to renew our minds and bring our thinking about relationships in line with Jesus’ thinking. Love thought number three would be shocking to the normal, self-centered person, but to those who know Jesus, this thought reveals God’s love in an amazing way.
Love Thought Number 3: The more someone doesn’t please us or do what we want or expect, the greater potential there is for God to be glorified as we know Him and experience His love for us, and then express His love to them.
Now that’s a radical love thought, isn’t it? But that is the way God thinks and works. The greater the sin, the greater the grace. “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). He who is forgiven much loves much, and he who is forgiven little, loves little, according to Jesus. “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). When someone sins against us or isn’t useful to us, the opportunity for grace and love to shine increases. From God’s perspective and according to His thinking, when someone doesn’t give us what we want or gives us what we don’t want, they are more valuable to us. Let me list some reasons for saying this.
- They are more valuable because to love them requires a deeper trust in Christ and looking to Him more for grace to love.
- They are more valuable because as you look to Christ for grace to love and you receive it, you know you are loved by Him.
- They are more valuable because your faith and love are not merely factual, but experiential as you rely on Jesus to demonstrate them.
- They are more valuable because if there is any selfishness or the earthly kind of love in you toward them, their failure to please you will bring it out in the open so you can see it and repent.
- They are more valuable because they help you realize how needy you are for mercy and grace, which should motivate you to draw near to the throne of grace more consistently.
- They are more valuable because if you love them with Jesus, your confidence is greater as you consider appearing before Him in the judgment. “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
- They are more valuable because God crowns you with glory and honor just like He did Jesus, who died for us. Jesus prayed that we would share His glory. It’s recorded in John 17:22. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” Notice how God crowned Jesus with glory and honor. “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
Do you need to renew your mind to conform to Jesus’ thinking about people who are broken and useless? When your wife or husband displeases you, do you thank God for the valuable gift He has given you and the opportunity to display His love and forgiveness to them? If not, then you’ve got some repenting and renewing to do this month. Start today, by putting love thought number three somewhere prominent in your path so you can begin to plant the seed in your heart. Then, when people disappoint, offend, or displease you, practice giving God thanks, and seeking His power and presence to love them with His love—the same love with which He has loved you when you have disappointed, offended, or displeased Him.
Not only is the potential greater for you to glorify God when someone doesn’t do what you want, like or when you want them to do it, but the person who displeases you receives a greater benefit than if he or she fulfilled your desires. This leads me to the fourth love thought that we will learn in next month’s blog.