February 7-14 is National Marriage Week, and we want to be part of encouraging and challenging every married couple. The challenge is NOT to do something just on Valentine's Day, although we hope you will celebrate together somehow. The challenge is contained in the words from Les and Leslie Parrot below. Please take a moment or two to read it and then ask God to help you more and more consistently to sacrificially and joyfully love your spouse, all throughout the year!!
“Observe how Christ loved us. Love like that.” – Ephesians 5:2
Loving like Jesus is the best way to live. When we love like Him, we can step outside ourselves and clearly see our loved ones and their needs. We can shed layers of selfishness, resentment, anxiety, pettiness, and entitlement. Most of all, we can rise above our human imperfections and step into transcendent love.
Jesus’ model of love challenges us to stop settling for anything less than “the most excellent way.” If you want to love like Jesus, read on.
CAN ANYONE REALLY LOVE LIKE JESUS?
When it comes to love, Jesus raised the bar astronomically. He teaches us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and walk the extra mile. To our human minds, that sounds completely outrageous–but that’s the point. If we want to love like Jesus, we have to open our hearts and our minds. We need to be able to fully utilize our emotion, reason, thoughts, and feelings. We can’t bring perfect love into our imperfect lives without this kind of complete vulnerability.
Why? Because opening your heart allows love to change your mind. When Jesus touches your heart, your mind can follow suit and be completely transformed. Allowing your heart into the conversation will revolutionize your thinking. We believe that’s what Paul meant when he said, “You’ll be changed from the inside out” (Romans 12:1 MSG).
If you’re in search of reasonable love, you’ll miss out on a love that’s extraordinary–on the opportunity to find a love you didn’t realize you had.
Jesus’ ideal model of love can rub off on our imperfect lives. Why? Because loving like Him is more attainable than we realize.
5 ACTIONABLE WAYS TO LOVE LIKE JESUS
Jesus’ example and teachings show us at least five ways we can love more like Him. While it’s not an exhaustive list by any means, these practices can provide us with an actionable starting point to apply to our imperfect, human lives.
To love like Jesus, we must:
Be mindful. We need to connect more deeply with our lives and the people in them, rather than living a detached, disconnected existence.
Be approachable. It’s important for people to feel safe approaching us; in other words, we must become less exclusive in our interactions with others and more welcoming to those who seek us out.
Be full of grace. We must be willing to relate to others in a less judgmental way.
Be bold. We have to shed our fears, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV).
Be self-giving. We need to become less self-absorbed and more invested in those around us.
Over and over, Jesus demonstrated these qualities to show us that they’re not unattainable ideals. Instead, they’re a doable way to get an earthly handle on a heavenly ideal.
DEBUNKING THE MYTHS
It’s a common misperception that loving like Jesus means that you must become a doormat, a weak wimp, or a spoilsport. Some people believe that loving like Jesus means we have to deny ourselves everything, miss out on all the fun, and smother our joy. But that’s not true. According to research, having the ability to practice love in our daily relationships–marriage, friends, family, and otherwise–is actually the defining mark of human happiness. When we give of ourselves and do good for others, we use higher-level brain functions that trigger neurochemical reactions in our brains. The result? A cascade of positive emotions.
APPLICATION SECTION: (Added by Glen and Shawn)
- In all honesty, do you truly believe that God has given you the power as a husband or wife to love like Jesus? Why or why not?
- Of the 5 actionable ways to love like Jesus listed above, what is one that you can begin asking God to put into practice in your marriage even today?
- Take time together as a couple to read John 13:1-20, 31-35 and Galatians 5:13-17. After discussing those passages, take a minute or two to pray together as you ask God to help you begin more and more consistently loving your spouse like Jesus.
Post by Les and Leslie Parrot -- "SYMBIS - How to Love Like Jesus - Aug 2018"