A Life that Understands a Great Relationship

Few people have great relationships but a great relationship is worth more than all the money in the world. A great relationship is a true gift from God and once a person has a great relationship, whether it is a friend or a spouse, they will never be the same. A great relationship brings great joy and is medicine to the soul. It brings comfort when nothing else can comfort, lifts a person up when they are down, minimizes their sorrows and brings joy to their heart and healing to their soul.

A joyful heart is good medicine, Proverbs 17:22a

A great relationship allows one to accomplish far more than they could ever have accomplished without it. A great relationship brings the best out in each of the ones in the relationship and teaches a person to love and to trust to a deeper level than ever imaginable.

there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24b

A great relationship makes the heart glad and brings good counsel that is sweet to the one needing it.

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. Proverbs 27:9

God made us to be in great relationships and He sent His only begotten Son so that we may be able to be in great relationships. He wants us to have a great marriage and great friendships. A great relationship is only possible through Jesus Christ, who came to reconcile us to a great relationship with a great God.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, II Corinthians 5:18

The Lord wants us to be reconciled to others once we are reconciled to Himself. We can only give to others what we have received ourselves.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. II Corinthians 5:20

He came to show us what a great relationship looks like.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

A great relationship has a great love that is willing to lay down their lives for their friends. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. He came to be our friend and wants to be our friend.

but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15b

Jesus Christ has entrusted His great friendship to us. He wants us to learn to be a great friend to others. We can do that when we learn to trust Him. A friend loves at all times and that is the friend that we have in Jesus Christ. He loves us at all times. He loves us no matter how often we fail, how deep we fall, how far we stray, or how unfaithful we are. If we will only come back to Him then we will be restored and experience His great love.

A friend loves at all times, Proverbs 17:17a

You can be this great friend to someone else. Not many people have someone who will love them when they feel that no one else loves them. It is easy to love the lovable. Everyone can do that but only a great person can love one who does not deserve love. Only a great person can be a friend to others in spite of their failings or love a spouse when the spouse has failed and only a great person can be in a great relationship. When two people learn what it means to be great in God’s eyes then they will have learned what it means to be a great person and then they will be able to have a great relationship.

And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. Luke 22:24-26

In the world, a person may be considered great because of success, position, power or beauty but those are not the characteristics of true greatness. True greatness is humbling oneself and seeking the success of others. A truly great person will not use you to seek their success but they will seek what is best for you. A truly great person will consider you more important than himself. For this reason, only a truly great person can have a great relationship because a truly great person can be trusted. Jesus Christ proved Himself to be the greatest man of all when He walked on earth. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, equal with the Father, humbled Himself and considered others more important than Himself.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:3-7

A truly great person will do nothing from selfishness or conceit. They are secure in who they are and do not need to use others to bolster their poor self image. They will find greater joy in the success of others and in doing so the Lord will bless them. A truly great person realizes that His worth is in God and that he can love others because he knows that he is loved with an everlasting love that does not change. A truly great person experiences more joy than others and because he has learned to water the lives of others then he is confident that the Lord will water his life.

And he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25

A truly great person is a joy to be around, a light to others and a picture of God’s love. This is the person that the Lord is making each one of His children into and one day they will be like Him, when they see Him.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. I John 3:2

A Life Understanding How to Know the One for You

Understand How to Recognize the Man Who Is for You

“How do I know if someone is the one for me?” is a common question. That question is asked usually before a person meets the one for them because most people “know” when they meet the one for them. Before you meet the “one” for you, you will probably meet many who you will know are not the one for you. You and your future mate will be a good fit for one another. The man will be the initiator and the woman will be the responder. The man must take responsibility for the relationship and be the leader. Every woman longs for a man to be a leader but she must be willing to follow the man who will be the head of their home. If she does not respect the man and is not willing to follow the man then he is not the one for her. A woman must learn to be patient and wait for the man to initiate.

Understand The Importance of Trusting the Lord

The Lord tells us not to lean on our own understanding. We often think that there are certain things that we want in a man but most of what we think is important before marriage is not what matters as much after marriage. How a man treats his wife is the highest after marriage and how good looking he is goes down the list. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Go to Scripture and research what the Lord says about a loving and kind man who would be a good husband. Unless someone has received God’s unconditional love then they will never be able to love someone else with an unconditional love. The greatest need of a wife is to be loved.

I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. Ecclesiastes 3:14

You will know when you meet the man for you because there will be nothing to add to him and nothing to take from him. It will not mean that he is perfect but it will mean that you will not say, “I really like him but…”. If there are any “buts” then whatever it is that makes you hesitant will come back to bother you later. Also, does your father like him and want you to marry him? A father can see aspects of a man that a young woman can not see. Do not marry a man if you have doubts. Wait. It is too big of a decision to go into with doubts.

A Life Understanding that A Man’s Love is a Gift

A man’s love for a woman is a gift.  When a man is asking a woman to marry him then he is offering himself to her to love her and to husband her. The word “husband” is a nurturing and caring term. The husband is to care for, provide for, protect and love his wife for better or for worse in the good days and not so good days. He is giving himself to her for her well being and to do her good all the days of his life. Love is a gift that is given to another. It is the highest and best gift. To love someone is the greatest honor and no one is worthy of the gift of love from another.

Understand that a Woman Must Not Manipulate

A woman longs for the attention and love of a man and often she will be tempted to “take it into her hands” to get what she wants. If she manipulates to get what she wants then she is only cheating herself of a gift of love. She will never know “for sure” if the man she “caught” is the man that the Lord wanted to give her. The Lord wants to give her to the man and when she manipulates then she will not have the assurance that the Lord brought her to her husband. When Adam needed a wife, the Lord brought her to Adam. The Lord gave Eve to Adam. The Lord still wants to give a wife to a man. It is crucial to know for sure that the Lord is the One who brought two people together because there will always be trying days in any marriage and there is great comfort in knowing that what God has joined together that He will keep together if they look to Him.

What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. Mark 10:9

A wife is a favor that the Lord gives to a man. She is his greatest treasure and when he receives his wife he is receiving a gift from the Lord. The Lord is perfect in all His ways and you will be forever grateful to the Lord if you trust Him to bring you and your mate together. If you manipulate in a relationship, then later on you will be tempted to doubt and may wonder if you did not bring it about, rather than trust the Lord. Manipulation is selfish and deceitful and is not pleasing to the Lord. Manipulation is not living by faith and trusting the Lord. Trust Him and you will not be disappointed. The Lord is good. He wants a wife to be a gift to the man. Let your husband find you.

           He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22

A Life Understanding that Love is a Gift

God’s design for mankind is love. His plan for all people is that they are to know and live in God’s love and they are to love one another. Love is a gift to some one else. Love can not be earned through works. If one has to work to get something then it is not a gift. Love is a choice for the giver of love and love is a gift to the receiver of love. The receiver must choose to respond and receive the gift of love. Love can be accepted and it can be rejected. The one who loves must have the gift to be able to give it away. Love is a power for good towards another and there is only One who is the source of all power and all love and that is God. God is love. God created man for man to be loved and to love. God created and chose Adam and Eve to receive His gift of love. Love is relational. Adam and Eve rejected God’s gift of love and rejected their relationship with God. Love has boundaries and when Adam and Eve would not accept God’s boundaries then they no longer were able to live in God’s love for them as He designed. Life and love has boundaries for the good of all. Parents set boundaries for their children, if they love them. When we reject God’s boundaries then we reject His love and what is good for us and we choose grief. Grief brings sorrow, pain, sadness, depression and anger.

The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord. Proverbs 19:3

Understand Life without Love

Only a fool would reject God’s love and yet the Bible says that because of Adam and Eve’s foolish decision to reject God that we all come into the world with a foolish heart. The Bible says that what a fool does is stupid. Every stupid decision that anyone ever makes is because they did not go to the Lord and seek His counsel. They acted on their own and did what they wanted to do. God never causes grief. We only bring it on ourselves. Drugs and therapy can not take away our grief, depression, anger, etc. It is not until we are changed from the inside will we ever be free of the things that cause destruction within us. Only God can change us on the inside. Only God can set us free.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

All of us have messed up in life. There is not a single person that has done life right except for Jesus Christ. He did life right because He is God and He came to love us, to forgive us, to clean up our messes, to restore us and to live through us. He not only teaches us the right way to live so that we can live in His love and be happy but He actually comes and lives within us through the power of His Holy Spirit. He makes us a new person and the old things pass away. There is only one way to be restored to God’s love and that is through Jesus Christ. Each one of us must receive Jesus Christ into our life to be our Lord and Savior.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:12

A Life Understanding A Man Needs to Be Wanted

Understanding that a Husband Wants to Be Wanted

When Adam saw Eve he was ecstatic. He wanted her and he wanted her to be his alone. When a man gets married to the girl he loves he thinks, “she is mine”.  A man thinks that when a girl marries him that she wants him. It is devastating to a man to feel rejected. A man wants his wife to desire him and not just love him the way she wants to be loved. A wife longs to “feel” loved and the words “I love you” are important to her and in a similar way, the words “I want you” are what a husband longs to hear. Just as a wife does not just want to “hear” those words, “I love you” but she wants to “see” that love also, in the same way a husband wants to “see” that his wife wants him. He married his wife because he thought that she wanted him.

so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, Titus 2:4a

Understand How to Want Your Husband

Understand that what is right before marriage is wrong after marriage. It is right to withhold the physical intimacy before marriage and a man needs for the woman that he loves to have a high standard morally before marriage. A man appreciates what he works for and what he waits for so it is good for his girlfriend/fiance to help keep the relationship where it needs to be. However, after marriage it is wrong for the wife to withhold physical intimacy from her husband. If he is sensitive to her then he will be patient when she is not feeling well and he also needs to restrain himself during her time of month. However, his desire is usually very much greater than her desire for the physical and he needs for her to want him and not reject his affections toward her. She will be much happier if she satisfies him when she is more agreeable and this will keep him fulfilled in the area of the physical. Most men are agreeable anytime so this is not hard for the wife to do. The Bible teaches that the older women are to teach the younger women to “love” their husbands. The word love in this verse in the original means that she is to be a “lover of her husband” or in other words, in the original it means that she is to want him and delight in him.

Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:18,19

Understand that a husband needs physical intimacy and God’s provision for a man is his wife. You married your husband and he believed that you wanted him when you married him. He needs you. There is not another woman in the world that can do what you can do for your husband. It may be sex with another woman but it is meant to be so much more with a man’s wife. It is the cherry on top and icing on the cake, so to speak. It is becoming one with another and it is the fullest expression of love. When you satisfy your husband you will also diminish the temptation of the adulteress woman who has her eye on your husband. There are many women who are looking for the vulnerable man and you don’t want that man to be your husband. Let him have something to look forward to when he comes home and when you are together. You will find that as you fulfill your role as a wife that you will be blessed. When a man is satisfied and fulfilled by the woman he loves there is not anything that he will not do to make her happy. He loves her and her joy becomes his joy.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I Corinthians 7:3-5

A Life Understanding Brokenness and Healing

Understanding Brokenness

Broken relationships can cause people to be broken. The Lord never intended that there would ever be divorce, remarriage, unfaithfulness and everything else that causes pain to others and especially to children. When divorce happens it brings grief to the children. The Lord says that He hates divorce because of what it does to the children. However, unless there is healing then the chances are slim that a child of divorce will have a happy marriage. Wounds and hurts happen but there is hope and there can be healing. It is important that as much as possible each person goes into the marriage whole and healthy emotionally. The Lord can and wants to heal but a person with internal hurts must go to the Lord for healing. He understands each person better than anyone else and His name Jehovah-Rapha means “The God who Heals”. You will not hurt forever if you are healed. There will be a scar but you will know when you are healed because when something or someone touches where the wound was then you do not feel the pain, just as if you were to have a wound on your body that has healed. The scar is there but not the pain when the wound has healed. Not only does the Lord heal but He also can break the cycle of sin for the person who turns to Him. The Lord is real and His kindness is a realty to those who look to Him. Not only does He heal and break the cycle but He says that He can restore the “years that the locusts have eaten”. In other words, He can restore what was destroyed. Only God can do this and man can not fix our messes. When man tries to fix messes then he only makes a bigger mess. The Lord makes all things right and He alone teaches us the right way to live and love so that we do not bring on ourselves more pain or give to our children the same sort of grief as we experienced.

“Yield now and be at peace with Him;
Thereby good will come to you.
“Please receive instruction from His mouth
And establish His words in your heart.
“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent,
And place your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks,
Then the Almighty will be your gold
And choice silver to you.
“For then you will delight in the Almighty
And lift up your face to God.
“You will pray to Him, and He will hear you;
And you will pay your vows. Job 22:21-27

Understanding Healing and Restoration

Yahweh El Ashiyb is the name of God that means “The Lord My Restorer”. Healing and restoration comes when we yield ourselves completely to Him. Good will come to us when we receive His instruction and establish His Words in our heart. If we return to Him then we will be restored. Repentance means turning from our sinful ways and whatever our idols were and turning to the Lord. (We often turn to other means for comfort rather than the Lord and whereby they do not help us but they ensnare us…and they can also become idols that we do not want to let go.) He will become more precious to us than anything we desired before because we will see Him and we will experience His mercy and His peace. He will hear our prayers and we will keep our vows. You will know much joy and gladness when you are restored. Sorrow and sadness will leave along with regret and depression.He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 Everyone needs healing at some time in their lives. When you give your life to the Lord and He becomes your Lord and Savior then you will never walk alone again. He will go with you through your sorrow. He will comfort you in your pain and He will restore you. There is no situation greater than the Lord. Nothing is too difficult for Him. He is able to save and He is able to restore. He loves you. And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 Your past does not have to define you nor does your present pain have to determine your future happiness.

A Life with Love Must Be Tested

If love is not tested then we will never know the depth and strength of our love. It is not until our love is tested will we know if it is genuine. We all want to say that we will be faithful in our love for another. That is the intent of our heart but what is the strength of our character? Love is a choice and it is a choice that we must make many times in order to stay faithful. We make the commitment to love another but we live out that commitment every day afterwards. Love is not a matter of words only but a matter of faithfulness in living out the words that we have made to another. That commitment that we make to love another will be tested. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” it will be tested.

We love, because He first loved us. I John 4:19

Love begins with experiencing God’s love. We love the Lord because He first loved us. When we experience His love then we can love others with an unconditional love, which is the way that we all want to be loved.

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. I John 3:23

Our love for the Lord will be expressed in our love for our spouse, our family members and others.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

When we learn to love God with all of our heart, soul and might then we can love another. Loving God means loving others. We learn of love from God and we learn what it means to be faithful from Him also. Adam and Eve were tested in the garden of Eden. They failed the test and chose to not love God by loving themselves. The Lord continued to love them in spite of their lack of love for God and the rest of the Bible is the story of God’s love for Adam and Eve and all of their descendants and His faithfulness to show them that love.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

Adam and Eve were more concerned about “what was in it for them” than in being faithful to their Creator and God.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6,7

Eve was tested when she was tempted to eat of the tree which the Lord had said not to eat. She was tempted because of how she looked at the fruit of the tree. What Eve saw was “good” and “delightful” and “desirable”. However, it was not good but bad, it would not bring her delight but pain and it only seemed desirable but in the end she would regret it. That is how the test will be. It will seem appealing and tempting but will only destroy. If we fail the test then it will bring not only death to the love relationship but it will bring death to the soul.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. Hebrews 10:36

Every love relationship has a lot of promise. If we enter into a marriage covenant then it has the promise of a loving and trusting union between a man and a woman that will bring great joy, satisfaction and love that will grow as the two grow old together. The marriage relationship is the sweetest, warmest, most trusting and loving relationship on earth when it is done God’s way.

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

God’s ways are right. Those who are wise will learn the ways of God and walk in them. Their marriage will be blessed. Those who are faithful in their relationship with God and in their marriage when they are tested will grow even stronger in their love. Testing brings trials and trials produce endurance. Endurance is what strengthens and perfects us. It is the relationships that endure the tests and trials of life that bring the lasting joy and satisfaction in life as they are made perfect and complete.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

When you are tested through trials then persevere in doing what is right. Stay faithful. Walk by faith and not by feelings. Love can grow and be restored in relationships. Relationships are not easy but they are worth it. Do what is right. Don’t give up.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

All love relationships will be tested. Your relationship and love for the Lord will be tested. Your marriage will be tested. Love is faithfulness and perseverance and those who are faithful and persevere to the end will be glad. Those who are faithful to the Lord will be faithful in their marriage.

For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Hebrews 10:37-39

A Life with Love Remembers and Finds Rest

Everyone looks and longs for love, that is, until they either give up or they find it. Love is worth finding, for love is man’s biggest need. Where there is love there is life. When a person feels loved then they experience significance, purpose and life. Love gives meaning to their work and love gives a person something to look forward to and that is to see and please the one who loves them. Love gives companionship and friendship. Love teaches a person to trust. Love is personal and nothing can take the place of love. Life without love feels empty, aimless, futile and vain. Love gives hope and when we have hope we will persevere. Without love we give up and die. Man did not lose love in the garden of Eden when he sinned, for God still loved him, but he lost the ability to see love. In place of love there came fear and in place of life there came death. Man was afraid of God because he had done what was wrong and he began to hide from God. Man no longer experienced God’s love.

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9,10

We all have hidden and it is not until we hear God calling us do we come to Him. We have hidden behind all sorts of things but deep down all of us know that there is a God and that there is a creation. The Lord has put that in all of our hearts. Even though we don’t know God or His love, we know that there is a God. How do we find God again? It is not until we find God will we find love. It is not until we find God will our deepest needs ever be met. When we come to God then we will also find purpose and meaning in life, love in the deepest recesses of our being, peace and joy, and we will learn to trust again. What has been destroyed in our lives will be restored. How do we find God?

Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls…Jeremiah 6:16a

Man is always thinking that he or she has found something new and better. There is less love in the world than ever before and more divorces and broken marriages than ever before. The “new” ways are not better. They may seem better at first because there seem to be few restrictions, but the end is death. Death to the marriage and death to the soul.

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:2

If what you have been doing has not been working then ask the Lord to lead you in the good way. God’s ways are perfect and there is no pain in His ways. Don’t be stubborn. You hurt yourself by not walking in the ancient path.

…But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16b

When you walk in the way which seems right to you, but it is not the ancient path that the Lord designed then the outcome will be depression and gloom. There will not be life.

“Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, They will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it; Jeremiah 23:12a

The ancient path is the good way and the Lord says that He will meet you if you will come to Him and call on Him. He will show you the good way and your life will be good. One of the meanings of the word “good” is the highest form of love. You will find God and in finding Him you will also find love.

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
We continued in them a long time;
And shall we be saved?
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You; Isaiah 64:5-7a

You will know when you have found the good way, the way of the Lord, because you shall find rest for your soul. You will experience the love that never changes and is not dependent on your performance. That longing to be loved for who you are will be met because He knows you and you will be loved with an unconditional love. We all know that we are not the person that we pretend to be. All of us hide behind a front. All of us have failed and have a fear that if people really knew us then they would not love us. None of us have called on the Lord or aroused ourselves to take hold of Him. It is for this reason that Jesus Christ came. He loves us and it was love that caused Him to arouse Himself so that He might take hold of us. We have not called on Him but He has come and called us to Himself.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; I Peter 3:18

Now, all we need to do is come. When we come to Jesus Christ, He meets us where we are. Coming to Him is turning to Jesus Christ and trusting Him to save us and to lead us in His good way so that we can know Him, so that we can live in His love, so that we can be able to love others and we will find rest for our souls. He restores us to Himself and He also restores our marriages and our families. He forgives us and gives us the power to forgive ourselves and others. Jesus Christ gives love, life and rest. He calls to all of us to come to Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28,29

There is no greater love than to lay down your life for someone else. Jesus Christ laid down His life for you.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Not only do you become a friend of God when you believe in Jesus Christ and come to Him but you also become God’s child.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. I John 3:1a

A Life with Love Will Be Tested

Abraham loved the Lord and he was called the “friend of God” by God Himself. Other people claim to love the Lord but the problem is that their love for other things or other people is greater than their love for God. If someone loves anything or anyone more than God then it is not love but it is idolatry. Idolatry is giving to someone or something else what they are not worthy of and wanting from someone or something else what they can not give. No one but God is worthy of our worship and no one but God can give us true significance and security. Until we come to the place in our life where we trust God completely and realize that we can not trust anyone or anything else then we will never feel secure. God alone is trustworthy and God alone can give us security and significance. Abraham loved God and Abraham loved his son, Isaac. Would Abraham be willing to give up Isaac in his love for and worship of God? In Isaac was Abraham’s significance as a father of many nations and in Isaac would Abraham be a blessing. And yet, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was being asked to give up what was precious to him and what he loved in order to prove his love for the Lord.

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Genesis 22:1,2

Abraham trusted in God. He took God at His Word and believed in the promises of God even when it appeared differently. Abraham did not walk by sight or by his understanding but he walked by faith and obeyed God.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:3-14

The Christian life is not any different these days. The Lord wants us to trust Him and obey Him. The Lord wants us to love Him above all others. Our love for Him will be tested. Love must be tested for until we love the Lord above all others then we will never be able to love others with the love of Jesus Christ.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:37

True love is unconditional and is not selfish. True love does not look for what it can get from someone else and true love does not give to someone else what that person is not worthy of. If Abraham had not loved God, the One who blesses, then he would not have really loved the blessing of Isaac for Isaac would have become an idol and a stumbling block to Abraham. In the same way, we must love the Lord Jesus Christ above all others in order to love others. When we learn to love God the way He has called us to love Him then we will be able to love others with the same kind of love which He has loved us and that is a Christlike love.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. I John 3:16

A Life with Love is Not Selfish

Love is neither selfish nor self seeking. Love is not all about self. This is very difficult for all of us because we are basically selfish. We see this in toddlers and it does not change much as we grow older. We have to be taught to think of others and even then, we often do it for a benefit to ourselves. We want to be thought well of or we want to be liked. We want to do what is socially acceptable or we may realize that good manners, thinking of others, is necessary for success. All of this is true. We like others who think of others, who are socially acceptable, who have good manners and who basically communicate that they like us! However, it is only the Lord Jesus Christ who can teach us to love others with an unselfish love because He is love and He loves with an unconditional love. God’s love expressed through His Son, Jesus Christ, changes a life when it comes into a person’s life. His love floods the heart and the recipient of His love is never the same. God’s love is a force more powerful than anything else and His love changes the person. His love is the only power that can change the world. Abraham was called a friend of God because Abraham had experienced the love of God and his life was changed. God had promised Abraham the land of Canaan. However, there came to be strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot. There was not enough room in the land for all of their livestock when they were living together. They needed space for their livestock. Abraham had every right to choose first but he gave the first choice to Lot, his nephew.

So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord. Genesis 13:8-13

Love considers the other more important than one’s own self. This is Godlike love. Lot chose the best land and Abraham took the other part of the land. One can only live this way on a continual basis if one has the love of Christ within them. This is what makes a great marriage and it is when each one considers the needs of the other more important than their own needs. Your needs will always be met if you will trust the Lord, not necessarily when and how you want them met, but they will be met. It is anxiety and selfishness that often makes us pursue our needs and often, they are not really needs but “wants” anyway. Mature love considers another’s needs over their own. This kind of love is learned from the Lord. He will teach you to love with His kind of love. You will be blessed even more than the recipient for you will find that there is One far greater who will look after your interests and needs. He is faithful and you will never be forgotten or forsaken. Yes, this is a life of faith. Faith in the One who loves you far more than you can imagine and who laid down His life for you.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11

Most of us will admit that when we got married we thought we knew about love but once we were married we realized that our love for another was not very mature. Most problems in marriage, if not all problems, are from selfishness or conceit. We really think that we are somebody important and when another does not think that we are as important as we would like to think we are, then we get offended and often get an attitude. If the attitude is not corrected then it affects our behavior. If our behavior is not corrected then it affects the relationship and before we realize it we really don’t care for our partner because we feel that they don’t really care about us. We are all very selfish and into ourselves. Unless that changes then there is not hope for any happy relationship. The problem is not with the other partner but the problem is within. Only Jesus Christ can change a person from within. You must come to Him and allow Him to change you. He is the only hope for a happy and fulfilling marriage. Go to Him and ask Him to come into your life to be your Lord and Savior before you get married. If you are married then go to Him. He is is a present help in time of trouble. It is His will that you have a loving and fulfilling marriage. He will help you.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

Jesus Christ can make you into a new person and He can also renew your marriage. Come to Him if you need help. Come to Him if you have tried and failed. Come to Him.