What are the principles for loving another person, that God would want you to follow? Jesus answered this question after He was asked by the Pharisees “which is the greatest commandment?”
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
Who is My Neighbor?
The definition of a neighbor (according to the dictionary) is, “A person who lives close by.” The question posed to you is, who do you live closest to? Who SHOULD you live closest to, but your God and also your spouse? After all, you entered into a covenant relationship with both of them when you took your wedding vows. That means that you should love them unto the extraordinary —beyond that which you love anyone else.
In the Bible in Luke 10, we see that Jesus was asked “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan, who showed great mercy to someone he didn’t even know. Afterward, Jesus let the “experts” know that THE ONE WHO SHOWED MERCY was the one who showed himself to be a neighbor. He then said, “Go and do likewise.“
Principles for Loving
Jesus’ principle for loving the one we are to follow. This applies both to the person outside of our home, but especially to the person within our home. It’s the one with whom we entered into a covenant relationship.
So beyond showing mercy and grace and helping to bind the wounds of our “neighbor” who is our spouse, what other principles are we to follow? THE PRINCIPLES FOR LIVING ARE ALSO THE PRINCIPLES FOR LOVING that the Bible shows us. The Bible is our Principle Guide Book for how we are to treat one another. This especially applies to how we live with the spouse.
We Are to Be Promise Keepers
We often forget that as believers in Christ, we’ve vowed to be “promise keepers.” We are told in the Bible to have a servant’s heart and posture in how we deal with each other. We’re told in Philippians 2:3-8 that our attitude “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.“ As those verses tell us:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
YOUR ATTITUDE SHOULD BE THE SAME AS THAT OF CHRIST JESUS: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death —even death on a cross!
As you read through these verses we challenge you:
- Do you in humility, “regard one another as more important” than yourself?
- Is your attitude the same as that of Christ Jesus who emptied Himself of His rights (despite the fact that He is God)?
- Do you take on the “very nature of a servant“ when dealing with your spouse? Do you humble yourself, yet lift him/her up (without a complaining word)?
God tells us in the Bible:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
“Dear friends, since God loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.“ (1 John 4:7-12)
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.“ (John 15:12-14)
A Challenge and A Reminder
Please consider this a challenge and a reminder. Live out your promises to God and also to your spouse —your “neighbor.” In your actions and words, exhibit the principles for loving that the Bible gives us.
Our prayer for you is that you’ll love your husband or wife in the same way that Christ has shown His love to you. He did not hold back in giving mercy, grace, and forgiveness despite the hurt you have caused to Him.
We pray that you’ll give up your personal kingdoms for the sake of God’s kingdom. As a result we hope that others will see the love of Christ sincerely displayed through your words and your actions. As a result, they will have more opportunity to be drawn all the closer to Christ.
We leave with you something from Keith Overturf:
“Do your best.
Bring out the best in others.
Don’t tell the Lord how big the problem is.
Tell the problem how great the Lord is!!!
Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow is not promised.
The question is,
What have you done for Christ today?”
Cindy and Steve Wright
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