My goal in the Live to Love with Jesus blogs is to provide monthly encouragement to grow in love for Jesus and to grow in loving with Him. If we are going to love with Him, we need to think like He thinks about relationships. In the past three months, we learned three new “love thoughts.”
- The value of relationships isn’t dependent upon what we get from them.
- 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.
- 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, experience His love for us, and then express His love to them.
We know His thoughts are not like our natural thoughts and that these thoughts are supernatural. His ways are not like our ways. We also recognize that the application of these thoughts is always to be motivated out of love and with the intent to express God’s love. However, His love may look very different depending on the dynamics of the relationship.
Unfortunately, some people will take the truth, even the truth about God’s love, and use it to manipulate and hurt people for their own selfish ends. Contrary to love thought number one, for them, the value of relationships is based on what they can get from them. Their view of relationships might be defined this way: the sustained direction of the will toward their own satisfaction, no matter what it costs others. If you have someone in your life like that, then I grieve with you and want to encourage you in this way. The application of these love thoughts must be firmly rooted in God’s kind of love. I define God’s love as the sustained direction of the will toward the highest good of another, namely, that they become like Christ, no matter what the cost. Expressing God’s love for them won’t look the same as it would in “normal” relationships. Jesus confronted such selfishness, exposed it, and told them they must die to themselves, leave their sin, and follow Him. I encourage you to look to Christ and find your greatest satisfaction in Him as the source of the kind of love, courage, forgiveness, and wisdom that you’ll need to glorify Him by expressing His love in that difficult relationship.
Let’s now consider the last of four new “love thoughts” that I present in my book, Live to Love. The focus of this thought is less on us and more on the impact of Jesus’ kind of love on the people around us. All of the “love thoughts” are to be considered in contrast to normal, natural thinking, which assigns value to relationships based on what they do to us, don’t do for us, or how they make us feel. When we value a person based on the opportunity we have to find our fulfillment in Christ and express His love for His glory, another opportunity arises to have a greater impact on them. Here is another excerpt from Live to Love, Chapter Four, pg. 32.
Love Thought Number 4: The greater the uselessness of a person, the greater potential there is for that person to become secure in your love.
“A couple of questions illustrate the reality and power of this thought. When do you feel the most loved? Is it when you please someone and they love you, or is it when you know you have disappointed them or hurt them, and they still love you? It’s the second one, isn’t it? In fact, in the second circumstance, you benefited by a growing assurance that they really love you. You know you may rest secure in the relationship. How valuable is it to you to know that the person you love feels secure in your love? If you are committed to intentionally adopting and practicing this new mindset, you can expect others to be blessed as they learn not only that you are a “safe” person to be with, but “also that the way you love them, regardless of what they do, testifies to their tremendous value. They feel honored, loved, and secure. When you live to love with Jesus and bless others in that manner, your relationships are incredibly satisfying.”
The exception to this truth is when the person you love expects you to show how valuable he is to you by loving him like he wants to be loved—pampered, excused, and submitted to regardless of how he treats you. The value of the relationship can still be shown when he is “useless” or hurtful, not by loving him like he wants, but by his seeing that you want him to be most satisfied in Jesus and unafraid when he comes to stand before Jesus. Your commitment to do whatever it takes for him to experience God’s love in that moment of reward instead of eternal judgment should reassure him that your love is God’s love.
“Do you feel secure in God’s love? Hasn’t he confronted you with your sin? If you realize how great your sin is against Him and have found forgiveness and restoration through His death and resurrection, then you have true security in Christ. Perhaps you can see that I am leading you through such an experience, not only for your benefit, but to equip you to lead others who are deeply in need of a new mindset in their relationships—to think and love like Christ. If these were completely new thoughts for you then hope should rise in your heart. Nothing can change if our thinking doesn’t change, but if we embrace a new mindset, God’s mind on relationships, good things are bound to happen.”
I hope the blog topic for the past four months has helped you renew your mind as you live to love with Jesus. If you missed any of them, please visit the website and catch up. The main point of these blogs has been to help us fulfill Romans 12:1-2 where Paul wrote,
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."