This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has on one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:12-13
What is love?
Theologians, musicians, writers, and even Hollywood directors, have attempted to define, explain, and quantify love throughout history. But there has yet to be a consensus reached so far.
When it comes down to it, however, love is a choice.
A person can choose to act lovingly toward others or selfishly toward them. There is no mistaking that the foundation of genuine love is not feelings that change from day to day, from week to week, and sometimes even from moment to moment. There is no doubt that true love requires effort because it is a decision—one must be willing to do their part to build a lasting relationship.
Christ’s words are clear: Love God first, and then love others (See Matthew 22:37-40). These two commands are burdensome because humans are born being selfish, and it takes a lifetime to learn how to put others’ needs first and become selfless. But because of Christ’s example, loving others is not optional—it is a command.
The Christian path is an exercise in love and forgiveness. Need help? Connect with a New Life Counselor or Coach. To walk in Christ’s footsteps, you must accept God’s love, forgive those who’ve harmed you, and freely share God’s love with your spouse, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.
To love others as Christ does, here are three easy questions to ask your spouse, a friend, or a family member:
- “What does it feel like being in a relationship with me?”
- “What can I do to improve our relationship?”
- “What do you need from me?”
God did not intend for His followers to settle for mediocre marriages or friendships. He made men and women capable of extraordinary things and deep relationships. Healthy relationships require compassion, wisdom, empathy, kindness, courtesy, and forgiveness. If it sounds like too much work, don’t forget that God rewards those who love Him and love others. He knows that the person who does the work will reap the fruits of their labor. These fruits will enrich the lives of your loved ones and the lives of generations yet unborn.
Want a love that lasts? Then understand this: The foundation of genuine love is not feelings; love is a choice one must make each day. And keep making it!
by Steve Arterburn