With 7.8 billion different imperfect definitions of love, how can we find the perfect definition of love on this broken earth? Everyone begins with our unique understanding of love according to our experiences, definitions, and beliefs. No one is born knowing and operating in Christ’s perfect love. However, when you choose to be a disciple of Christ, you are responsible for learning how to love others as yourself, which is how he loved us.
God Gave Us His Perfect Love
God knew when Adam and Eve chose to sin; we would need to know what His perfect love looked like, sounded like, and acted like, so he sent us Jesus.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)
Jesus lived on earth to be our example of what it really means to love God and others in perfect love. Without an example, we can only love others or allow others to love us according to our imperfect love.
I know from my abusive experiences with love, I had no way to break out of the abuse cycle until I decided to learn and use Christ’s definition and design of love. I realized the love I knew was not the heart or God’s love for me. I could see how my broken definition of love had influenced my bad love choices.
God’s Word Empowers You to Live in His Truth
As I studied God’s word, His truth started breaking through the lies and unawareness I had been living in. I began to believe that living in Christ’s love design was possible for me. I saw myself through his loving eyes. I took his hand, and I started my journey to live in his love design.
The only way to transform your definition of love into Christ’s is to progressively learn his design and put it into practice. Learning something does not mean things will automatically change overnight. The process of change and faith requires time and our consistent participation as we work with Jesus.
Jesus told us the two greatest commandments were to love God first and foremost and then to love others as we love ourselves. (Matt. 22:36-40, NIV) Then God gave us more specifics about His love through his apostle Paul, who had persecuted Christ’s disciples before his conversion. Paul tells us what love is and what love is not in the following passages.
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. (1 Cor. 13:4-8, TPT)
You Can Love and Live Like Christ
This love passage in the Passion Translation gives us a picture of Christ’s perfect love design. He instructs his disciples to give and receive his aspects of love equally. If you want your relationship or marriage to follow Christ’s love design, it has to start with you. You are one half of your relationship. To have a healthy relationship, you must work on yourself first.
After living in three abusive marriages for thirty years, and understanding God’s truth, I realized that my definition and understanding of self-love was unhealthy and not in Christ’s love design. I was trying my best to love like Christ while I allowed myself to be abused. My definition of the love I was giving and receiving was not of equal health and value. In God’s revelation of seeing that I did not love others AS I loved myself, I finally grasped His design.
With God’s insight, I understood that it was not my responsibility, nor did I have the power to change anyone but myself. I prayed and asked God to change my ex-husband, but I had to surrender him to God and work on myself first.
To live in the perfect love of Christ and to mirror his love, you must commit to learning and growing with him every day. Start studying God’s word every day, even it is just one or two verses. Look up the verses in a study Bible and in several versions to get a full understanding of God’s truth. Pray with him throughout your day, which is just having a conversation with him. I have also found great inspiration from listening to praise music.
I also encourage you to find a Christian counselor for yourself. They can help you learn what healthy love looks like. They will help you create boundaries safely without placing yourself in danger, especially if you are in an abusive marriage. I do not recommend seeing a marriage counselor when you choose to start working on yourself. In my experience, marriage counseling is for people willing to own their unhealthy stuff and change it in love, not in abuse.
When you are in an abusive marriage, this is not possible at first. Remember, abuse is a learned behavior to stay in control of another person. As a disciple of Christ, it is your responsibility to be wise and become the healthiest disciple you can be first.
If you are ready to learn to love like Christ and work with him to transform your imperfect definition and understanding of love, then make your commitment today. Become the love of Christ in your home, relationship, and life. Learn how to thrive in his perfect healthy love design. My life is proof that Jesus can transform your broken love design into his exceptional one!
To learn about his love design, sign up for the launch announcement of Quest for Exceptional Love, transform your love and relationships through Christ’s design, coming soon! Learn more about Quest for Exceptional Love!