One of the things that so many people struggle with early on and into marriage is to put their spouse’s needs above their own. From the time we’re born until we’re married, life is about us. We make our decisions based on our needs and wants. We become selfish unknowingly. Part of the process of learning to be married is learning to quit being selfish and to focus on the other person in the relationship as well as who you are as one. Many times it’s hard for people to learn, and instead of learning to put their spouse’s needs ahead of their own, their selfish nature learns how to manipulate their spouse into taking care of their needs. In that situation, it’s hard for love to bloom because only one person’s needs are met. Deep love is the process of putting others ahead of yourself.
Think of what Jesus did. John tells us that creation was made through Him. Philippians tells us that He was equal with God, yet in an act of love, He chose to humble Himself, and become human. While He was here, He didn’t claim the privileges of being the King of Kings. Instead, He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. When they crucified Him, He didn’t call on 10,000 angels to come rescue Him from the cross. Out of love for us, He put our need for salvation ahead of His own needs and endured a humiliating death. He gave us the example of what love is and what love does. Philippians 2:4 says, “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (MSG).
The kind of love Jesus showed is the kind we are to show as His followers. We are to have His mindset. Just like marriage, there’s a process we must go through as believers where we put aside our needs and learn to look outward to the needs of others. Salvation isn’t just about the decision to make Jesus lord of your life. It’s learning to be like Him. It’s leaving your selfish, sinful nature and its thinking behind and adopting the mind and mentality of Christ. WWJD bracelets we’re supposed to help us to remember that, but instead they became a joke. If we truly ran everything we did through the filter of “What would Jesus do,” how would our lives change? Better yet, how would this world change? When Jesus said the world would know us by our love, He was talking about us showing love the way He did. When we learn to love like that, it’ll be revolutionary.
Photo by Craig Birrell on Unsplash
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Peter Strople. He was at the Re:Write conference as a speaker. Honestly, I had never heard of him even though he was known as the most connected man in America. When he got up to speak, you could see and sense his humility. It wasn’t what I was expecting from “the most connected man in America”. I quickly understood his humility and his ability to connect when he said his personal motto is “When in doubt, love.”
In a room full of writers who wanted to bless God with our talents, there was one person in the room who didn’t appear to belong. He had jet black hair done up like an 80’s band member. I think he even wore a leather vest that showed how his arms were covered in tattoos. Peter called him up to the stage to demonstrate what he meant. As he asked questions, diving into this man’s story, it was like watching a flower bloom. The one who was different, and an outcast, became the most beautiful thing in the room and everyone wanted to get to know him more.
Peter demonstrated what it mean to show love to someone. He didn’t just talk about it, he showed us how to do it. My whole life, I’ve read that we are to love one another, and have been taught about it as well from the pulpit. This was the first time I remember watching it in action and saw the result. Peter showed this man love by genuinely getting to know him and listened intently. It wasn’t about making himself look good. It was about valuing this person and showing them that they mattered.
Romans 13:10 says, “Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love” (MSG). Wherever you are today, there are people around you who need value added to them. Make a choice now to look for them and to show them love. Let’s not just talk about loving them, let’s do it. Don’t ignore someone because they’re different from you. Get to know they’re story and show them that they matter.
It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away an autographed copy of “Free To Live: The Utter Relief of Holiness” by John Eldredge. Keep reading to find out how to enter.
I read something from Chip Ingram earlier this week that still has me thinking. He was discussing a book he read where the basic premise was that everyone is insecure and our behavior is a reflection of those insecurities. He said he no longer looks at the boisterous know-it-all the same way. He no longer got upset with the person who has to pay for everything so others will see. Instead, he started to have compassion for them because of the deep struggle that was going on inside of them causing this behavior.
Each of us are insecure in some way. Each of us hide it in different ways. We try to mask those things deep inside us. I think of Nicodemus in John 3. He was worried about what others thought about him. His behavior was that he approached Jesus under the cover of night. He believed what Jesus taught, but was so afraid of what his peers thought about him that he couldn’t publicly profess that. He went to Jesus for one on one time because he wanted to know more, but he did it in secret.
The woman at the well was insecure about who she was. She was looking to find her identity in other people. She had been married 5 times before and was living with a man when she met Jesus. When Jesus spoke to her, he spoke into her. He spoke to the insecure voice inside her and changed who she was. She went back to the town and told the people, “Come and see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out.” Jesus knew her past and her insecurities. Instead of judging her, He had compassion on her.
I think it’s our own insecurities that cause us to judge or look down on someone who isn’t like us. The truth is that they are just as insecure as we are. They express it the only way the know how. Our response shouldn’t be rejection. It should be compassion. We shouldn’t dismiss others because of their behavior. We should accept them and love them. Ultimately that’s what we all need. That’s what we crave. We are all afraid on some level of what others think about us. We all want to be accepted by the crowd around us. Why not act like Jesus and love the person behind the behavior?
I have my own insecurities and my own behaviors that put people off. I reject people because of their behavior. I’m as guilty as anyone. The good news is that Jesus doesn’t leave us where we are. His love changes us from the inside out. We have to admit our insecurities to Him in order for Him to change us. As with any remedy, the change starts with admitting our own problem, our own insecurity, our own sin. When we confess them, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us. As we are forgiven, we are to forgive others. Look beyond the behavior in the person you least want to see today. See the insecurity that’s causing it and love them through it. Be Jesus to them. They need that more than anything.
If you would like to win an autographed copy of “Free To Live” by John Eldredge, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (June 7, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too