Loving God, Loving Others
Loving God, Loving Others
The first principle toward healthy relationships is that in order to love others, I must first love myself. And in order to love myself, I must know the love of God. It all begins with the greatest commandment as taught by Jesus: “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
How can I love someone else if I don’t even love myself? Healthy relationships start with two people who have healthiness, wholeness, completeness within their own lives. It requires two people who are whole, who understand who they are in God and who they are in themselves. Out of their wholeness or fullness, they are able to make that relationship work and to maximize it to its greatest potential. So if I’m going to love myself, I had better understand the love of God.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]” (1 John 4:7 AMP). According to the apostle John, the more I get to know and understand God, the more I have a capability of loving.
John adds this thought: “He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love” (v. 8). So it’s through our relationship with God that we have the ability to establish the foundation of love. And the Bible teaches us that if the foundation is destroyed, what will the righteous do (Psalm 11)? If you have no foundation, then you have nothing to build upon. According to the Word of God, love is your foundation based upon your relationship with God.
Studies have proven that long-term success in life is achieved by those who have the ability to give and receive love unconditionally. God’s love is unconditional, and our love is to be same. “Unconditional love” means we choose to love even though there are imperfections in people’s lives that we wish to be otherwise. To love unconditionally says, “I love you in spite of you. I love you with all your weaknesses, your flaws, and your strengths.”
What you focus on is going to make a difference in the functionality of your relationship. To love others is a choice, and to do so unconditionally means to accept every aspect of that person, recognizing that the landscape of their life has been affected by their life experience—by the people in their life, by what’s happened, and that they are being changed from glory to glory as they get to know God (2 Corinthians 3:18). For our part, we have a greater degree of love because we are daily growing in our knowledge of God. Every day we are focusing on knowing God more than we knew Him yesterday, which means every day we’re going to walk in a deeper depth and dimension of the love of God.
Real relationships function when a person becomes whole. Wholeness, fulfillment, and satisfaction come when you acknowledge and receive God’s love, and then you have the ability to love and accept yourself. And out of that you can begin to love and accept others. There’s such an inner fullness and a wholeness that it gives me an ability to function when I learn the life skills with unconditional love and acceptance and a respect and an honor that gives me the ability to have a full life of loving others.
Consider these words from Ephesians 3:16–18 in the Amplified Bible:
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it].
I can never have fullness in my life until I possess the knowledge of God’s love for me. And this is not based on head knowledge; it’s based on an intimate experience of God. Until I become intimate with God and really know who am I in Christ, I will struggle to be something I was never created to be. And while most of us are waiting for something from the outside to fix us on the inside, to make us right, it doesn’t come from the outside—it comes from the inside.
For instance, if we are asking God to give us a brilliant career, we’ve got it backward. A brilliant career doesn’t start by something outside of us. Greatness doesn’t start on the outside. It starts by discovering the brilliancy within. When you find what you were created for and figure out a way to wrap your living around the passion that God birthed on the inside of you, then your brilliant career is birthed forth.
We have to stop looking for something from the outside to fix what’s on the inside. Allow God’s love to pierce through your pain. When you can shut life down and stop all the noise long enough to discern who you really are, when you can hear the voice of God speaking truth to your inner man, then you begin to function fully because you understand: I am valuable. I am worthy. I am a treasure.
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