But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
2020 has taught us that we can only control our mindset, attitudes, beliefs, words, and personal actions. We have also realized that some natural destructive realities of living in a broken world can affect every aspect of our lives. However, as disciples of Christ, we must know and learn how to let Jesus use the challenges we face to show us his love, teach us, and strengthen our faith.
Some proclaiming “Christians” don’t realize they are instructed and responsible for learning to love others like Jesus. They don’t know where to begin because of their broken love design formed from their life experiences. Some proclaiming “Christians” believe they can treat people they don’t like or value or people they want to control with devilish attitudes, words, and actions. Any person proclaiming to be a Christian or Christ-follower must commit to following Jesus in every way. There is no middle ground.
Unfortunately, most Christians don’t realize they are operating from their broken love design or that Jesus has a pure love design for their marriage. Even if they want their marriage to be happy and healthy and try to achieve this goal, they often find themselves in a tug of wills, revealed by a cycle of continual fighting. As long as the couple uses their broken love designs, they will continue to struggle, hurt one another, have an unhealthy marriage, or fall into the destructive cycle of abuse, which can end in divorce or death.
People are just like computers. We can only do what we know how to do. The only way to change what we do is by learning something new and implementing it in our life every day. In a marriage, each spouse uses their imperfect, unhealthy, or abusive love design to make their marriage conform to their broken definition and understanding of love. Unless we learn and practice loving like Jesus, we will use our broken love design by default. Without Christ’s pure path to love others as he loves us, our relationships will continually struggle in a tug of wills.
I have known Christ since age seven. I have gone to church most of my life, and I grew up in a Christian home. But I still ended up in three abusive marriages with men proclaiming to be Christians. Halfway through my third abusive marriage, I realized that I did not know how to recognize or live in God’s definition of love.
So how come Christians struggle to love and live like Jesus? The answer is we all start with our broken definition and design of love. Until we learn and implement Christ’s love design, we will continue to do what we know. It’s not that there is something wrong with us as believers. We are just missing God’s truth and a clear path to learn about Christ’s love design.
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