He calls us to love over anything else.

11/28/2017 .
Stephanie Barney  .  Saddleback Singles Leadership Team

LEARNING TO LOVE

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

This is the picture God paints for us about love.  He calls us to love over anything else.  Even the greatest commandment involves loving God and loving others, but how well do we know how to love?  Truth be told we are never really taught how to love properly. We learn by watching others and modeling their behavior. Specifically, how they love each other and how they love us. We also learn from the Bible on how God asks us to love each other, but this knowledge is wasted if never put into practice.

In our singleness we want love, we seek love, we feel we need love, but do we even know how to love? If tomorrow God put the perfect person in our life would you have the ability to love that person enough that the relationship would last? For most of us, the answer is no. Maybe God is waiting for us to first perfect how we love before he is able to place that person in our lives. He doesn’t want us ruining the good things he has for us!

In school we put in many hours studying subjects, doing homework, and taking tests, but when do we put forth the same amount of effort into learning to love other people? Well, as single individuals, what better time than now to study and do the work necessary to develop loving relationships and strengthen current ones.

So what does that look like?

First, we need to read and study. We need to understand what the Bible says love is and what love is not. In 1 Corinthians God says love IS patient, kind, rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres and that love IS NOT envious, proud, boastful, self-seeking, easily angered, or keeps record of wrongs.  Look up other Bible verses about love and create an even longer list of attributes; expand God’s definition of love by making a list of what love IS and IS NOT.

Next, we need to do some homework. From the list you created from God’s description of love, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.  Which ones are easy for you and which ones create challenges? Once you have your top five strengths and weaknesses, find which current relationships or friendships you can use to practice your knowledge of love. Implement your strengths into the relationship and work on your weaknesses at the same time.  Each week or month work on something different.  Use this time to build your character so you can be better equipped to love a little deeper.

Finally, understand that love is a choice, not a feeling! So choose now to strengthen your capacity to love people. Once you develop a better understanding on how to love, you have a better chance at finding successful love in the future. Put in the effort and expect God to bless you for pursuing his greatest commandment - to LOVE!