As a little girl, I’d pick the petal of a flower off and say, “he loves me” for one petal, and “he loves me not” for the next petal. I’d repeat this process with the hope that I would end up with the words “he loves me.” Although this was a game, my question of “if I was loved” became a nightmare in real life.
I longed to fall in love and live happily ever after, but I ended up questioning if my husband loved me every day. I was confused by my understanding of love and how my ex-husband could profess to love me one minute and hurt me the next, day after day.
How We Get Confused About Love
It never occurred to me that my definition of love was not my spouse’s. I also never realize that my definition and design of love was not the same as Christ’s in many ways, even though I had been a Christian since age seven. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of my third abusive marriage that I cried out to God for His answers.
I had lived in the broken definition of love I knew, which had led me into three abusive marriages. My heart couldn’t take the abuse anymore, and I needed to feel the pure love of Jesus in my soul. My plea and surrender to learn from God started my journey to learn about His pure love and Christ’s.
I loved Jesus and God with my whole heart. However, I hadn’t studied His word, so it wasn’t written and living in my mind. I had used my imperfect knowledge, experience, and faith beliefs about what love was in my relationships, which kept me in the cycle of abuse. Living in my flawed, broken definition of love kept me confused because it was not God and Christ’s pure definition and design of love.
The apostle Paul tells us we must not be taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Sprit-taught words. (1 Cor. 2:13, 16, NIV) Christians must be taught and know that we have the mind of Christ because he dwells in us. The enemy’s goal is to keep us focused on finding pure love from other people, so we don’t seek the pure love of God through Christ Jesus.
Until we study and know God’s pure love for ourselves, according to His word, we will take what others say as our truth. Believing lies make us vulnerable to be deceived into unhealthy and abusive relationships. God’s truth about pure love shows us a bigger picture of several aspects of His love through the life of Jesus.
3 Surprising Healthy Aspects of Christ’s Pure Love
As I studied God’s Word, I looked at the life of Jesus. His attitudes, words, and actions showed me three healthy aspects we often overlook or don’t discuss. Many people see Jesus as a teacher, healer, and a sacrifice. However, in his everyday living for God, Jesus shows us the pure, healthy love of God that flowed through him was full of responsibility, respect, and boundaries.
- Jesus was responsible for his thoughts, emotions, attitudes, words, actions, and care for his physical needs. He was responsible for nurturing his relationship with God every day so he could teach, heal, and honor his Father. Jesus also chose to fulfill God’s will and be responsible for paying the penalty for all humanity’s sins when he died on the cross. One of Christ’s love’s main aspects is being responsible to God and to love others AS we love ourselves.
- There is no question that Jesus respected each person’s value equally. He loved them as they were and where they were in their faith journey. Jesus openly shared God’s hope and saving Gospel but left it up to each person to decide if they would believe. He never used intimidation, coercion, guilt, shame, or any other form of abuse to force others to believe he was the Son of God. If he came across opposition, he would move on to other people he could help without a personal verbal or a physical violent attack. Jesus agreed to disagree. This aspect of respect in Christ’s love is full of freedom, grace, and mercy.
- The everyday life of Jesus shows us his healthy boundaries to care for himself. To take care of his Spirit and to ensure he was doing God’s will, Jesus spent time with his Father, God, every day in prayer away from others. He ate, slept, and wept when he needed to. He NEVER allowed anyone to manipulate, hurt, or abuse him in any way until he chose to give up his life on the cross so we could choose salvation. The healthy aspect of boundaries in Christ’s love helped him protect the Spirit of God dwelling in him. His boundaries helped him stay healthy and accountable to God for his thoughts, emotions, attitudes, words, and actions in his imperfect human body. Boundaries kept a safe space where Jesus could talk and grow in God. If Jesus had to use healthy boundaries to stay close to God, the same is true for you and me.
Live in Christ’s Love and Change Your Life and Relationships
Because of the way I experience the love of Jesus and God today, I realize how small I had made their love. I tried to squash and twist the fullness of their love into what I knew while still praying to feel their love. Once I stopped using my broken experiences of love and learned to operate from Christ’s love design, my love became healthy, respectful, responsible, and full of healthy boundaries.
Our loving Father, God himself tells us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8-9, NIV)
Jesus came that we can live in his abundance now and into eternity. It’s time to learn about all the aspects of his love and what it means to be his disciple. Begin by learning about God’s word in my private Facebook group Growing Through God’s Transforming Grace. Click the link and join other women who are determined to grow in Christ and honor God with their lives.