I’m the type of person that approaches a problem one of two ways. Either I see the problem and believe I can overcome it, so I go for it with all my physical strength, emotional energy, and a pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality. Or, I might see an obstacle or challenge through the lens of impossible and will refuse to give it even a half-hearted effort. As a matter of fact, I might run from it, fearing that if I stick around, someone might challenge me to face my fears of failure.
How do you face the problems in your life? What do you do with the seemingly impossible before you?
More importantly, how does your approach to problem-solving influence the way you approach your relationships, especially those that are supposed to be rooted in love?
Oh yes, problem solving and love go hand-in-hand!
Why? Because it’s utterly, absolutely, totally, and insanely impossible to love the way God calls us to do so in our own strength. No amount of preparation, perseverance, or positive affirmations can get us to love others the way God designed, if He’s not in the center of it. That’s because the love we’re supposed to extend to others is something that is intended to come from within us . . . from God dwelling in us.
It’s God’s love in us, overflowing and pouring forth, that fulfills His command to love one another.
1 John 4:7, 9-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
So what does this practically look like . . . this loving others from the love God has put into us?
And how do we impart this lesson about love to our daughters?
Well, I wish it was as easy as snapping our fingers or signing a contract, and presto, we become love-giving machines. Unfortunately, it takes a whole lot more intentionality and investment of our time, but not how like we presume. Loving others can’t be about a project, to-do list, or heart-to-heart conversation. Loving others isn’t even about the acting in a loving way. I know, this was a shock to me too, as I’ve studied this topic of Biblical love.
Loving others from within begins with immersing ourselves in a love relationship with God.
So the first step is really in making time for that relationship with God to grow richly, authentically, deeply. It require a devotion to spending time alone with Him and His Word. It means giving the Holy Spirit access to our heart and mind as we sit in a quiet place.
We need to heed God’s voice so that our flesh may be redirected from a place of selfishness to submission to sacrificial love.
It’s not our nature to lay down our lives the way Jesus did for us, but it can be our behavior when the presence of Christ dwells in us so fully that He’s the one doing the loving through us.
Can you imagine that? Loving others like Jesus loves us. It is possible, when God’s the one orchestrating the whole love experience!
With our relocation from a boarding community to a “normal life” in which I have to menu plan, grocery shop, cook every night, and care for settling my family into a new state, new school, new church, new life . . . well the opportunity to love sacrificially is ripe. I’ve found that if I focus on meeting their needs and hoping that my “work” will prove my love, I grow bitter and cranky because the thanks and appreciation is never enough. I’m loving for my own gain, from my own strength. But when I shift my perspective toward the abiding, ever-present, sweet fellowship of Christ within me, my eyes are opened to the opportunity to join Him in is work and overflow His love from the storehouse of love within me. It’s in those moments that I’m able to love, without any strings attached, from the love God in me.
What does it look like for you to love others from the love of God within you?
Is the first step a decision to make time with the Lord, in His Word, a daily priority?
How can you model this holy pursuit of a love-rich relationship with God and inspire your girls in this direction too?
Download the Give Me Love resource from More to Be, which also includes a download of 30 Verses About Love — a great option for structuring your time in the Word by reading each verse in context over the next 30 days. You might also check out the 21 Day Meet the New You Bible reading plan on YouVersion.