When it’s time for holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries, people use a variety of ways to stir up their love for the people in their life. Some of them include:
- Reminding themselves of the good things the person has done for them
- Remembering how good the other person makes them feel
- Thinking of what they’ll get in return for loving them
- The benefit it will bring to the relationship from loving them
While these may bring some temporary motivation, they do not the power to sustain genuine love over the long-run, through hard times, or the ability to love when the other person’s love is not returned.
For genuine love like this, something bigger is needed.
It requires a love with motivation bigger than what I get out it, what I get in return, or what the other person deserves. While it may seem impossible, this kind of love does exist. It is possible to experience it, possible to genuinely feel it, and possible to sincerely express it to others. How do we find this kind of love?
It is found in allowing ourselves to be more deeply experience the love God has for us in Jesus Christ.
Sincere love that is selfless, sacrificial, and filled with joy regardless of the other person’s response can only come from God. It is not natural to man. We think favor must be earned, deserved, and is based on how the other person makes us feel.
This is not how love comes from God. At the center of who He is, there is love. It flows outwardly from Him in a one-way direction. Like a well overflowing with fresh water, He loves independent of it being deserved and independent of my response. His love is unchanging, not based on His mood, and flows with full force. He does not give a little, withhold a little, then give a little more.
If we want to experience giving that kind of love, then it begins by regularly receiving that kind of love from God.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
As I push past my own ideas of love, set aside the arguments against being able to experience that kind of love, something new begins to happen. As I see the wonder of God’s love fully expressed to me in Jesus, a change begins. As I see more of the lavish ways that God has loved me in Jesus, my heart begins to soften. As I allow myself to experience His mercy, forgiveness, tenderness, goodness, acceptance, grace, and lavish gifts, I am changed! The more I humble myself to be loved in this way apart from my efforts to impress, I find a curious thing happening. I find the desire to love awakening in me!
I find myself wanting to do the very thing for others that God does with me!
Desire becomes greater than duty; delight overcome drudgery. My focus is not what others have done for me, what I might get in return, or how it will benefit the relationship. I find love flowing naturally from my own experience of being loved!
Do you want to genuinely love the people in your life?
Do the one thing that will always ignite real love: return to be loved by God. Return to see what Jesus has done for you. In your failure, see Him loving and forgiving you. In your weakness, feel His acceptance not just for who you are, but for who Jesus is. In your desperation, experience being lavished with overwhelming gifts. In the pit of your deepest sin, know He has given you the gift of His righteousness.
The humility to be loved fuels an even greater desire to love.
Allow yourself to be fully loved by God.
Melt into His arms.
Rest in His love.
Love will awaken in you.
Now love your spouse, family, children, and friends in a way you never have before.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. I have called you friends… John 15:13, 15
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