25 days ago, I stood in front of God and my loved ones to say “I Do” to my best friend. Being a hopeless romantic, I had longed for a love story and envisioned this day for many, many years. As I reflect back now, just a few weeks later, it’s not the wedding day itself that stands out, but rather the days and months leading up to it.
While David and I were busy preparing for the wedding, God was preparing us for eternity. He had carefully started unraveling what our understanding of love and a “perfect” love story was. After a movie-like proposal, I expected to hear violins in the background as we planned a beautiful wedding together. Instead, we heard each other yelling. There were arguments, misunderstandings, and disagreements. We had known each other for 5 years, and we loved each other, but as we continued to seek God through all the frustration and nuances with wedding planning, we realized that the love that Jesus speaks of, and the love we often understand, have two fundamentally different definitions.
We live in a world where love is defined as a feeling, a sentiment, or an emotion, but the Bible defines love as a conscious decision and a choice—a choice to seek peace and harmony with others. We find this in the bedrock of Jesus’ teaching in John 13:34-35 when he says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
God spoke to us through many means, and He gave us three powerful lessons to intentionally love the way He loved us:
EXPECT HARD WORK
If Jesus commands us to love as He loved us, we should logically expect this to be one of the most challenging things we will ever do. Set your standard high on the level of investment and effort your relationships will need in order to grow.
The control required to restrain is challenging because we are encouraged by the world to retaliate. When we set Christ as our example instead of following the world, all of our justifications drown in the humility He embodied. Why rely on our actions while they are so limited compared to the mighty hand of God?
STOP TALKING & START PRAYING
Our speech has the power to breathe life or spread destruction. When the conversation is becoming destructive… stop talking! But as we stop talking to others, we need to replace that by continuing that conversation with God.
As I continue to learn how to love from God, I am also learning that this is something I will be honing for the rest of my life here on Earth. I pray David’s and mine experience will be a blessing on your path of loving one another as Jesus loved us.