Five First Steps to Building a Life of Love
“Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Ephesians 5:2 The Message).
I’ve been on this earth for a while now, and I’m still convicted by God about how little I really know about love and how often I am an unloving person. But the fact is, we all need work in this area. We all have a lot of growing to do as we mature in God’s love.
So how do you build a life of real deep love? That’s a profound question, and you will spend the rest of your life trying to do it. But I can give you some steps to get you out of the starting block — five things you can do this week that will help you get on the road to becoming a truly great person of love.
1. Learn how mature love acts and responds.
Personal change always begins with a change in perspective. You need to get God’s perspective on what love is really like, because the world knows nothing about real, deep love. You do that by getting into God’s Word.
2. Start your day with a daily reminder to love.
The first 10 minutes of the day set your entire mood for the rest of the day. Resolve to get up in the morning and say, “God, help me to remember that the most important thing is loving you and loving other people. If I don’t get anything else done today besides love you and the people that you put around me more, this has not been a wasted day.”
3. Memorize what God says about love.
God’s Word is filled with truths and principles on how to become a loving person. The problem is, when you’re in a situation where you’re tempted to be unloving, your Bible is usually at home on a shelf. That’s why you need to memorize Scripture — so that God can bring verses to mind when you need them the most.
4. Practice acting in unselfish, loving ways.
Love is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it develops. If you want to become a truly loving person, you have to intentionally do some things that seem awkward at first. But the more you practice, the more it becomes second nature, and you become a genuinely loving person.
5. Get support from other loving people.
If you’re just sitting in your room and reading a book, you’re not going to get very far in learning how to love. You only learn it in connection to others, in the context of community. That’s one of the reasons why a small group is so important! It puts you in situations where you can grow as you see godly love modeled for you and as you practice serving others in unselfish, loving ways.
You never learn to love by just sitting back and listening. You learn it in relationship to other people.
Talk It Over
-- What could you change about your schedule so you can give God the best part of your day and start your day in His Word?
-- Think of the ways you learned best in school. How can you apply some of those same principles to the way you memorize Scripture?
-- What people in your life have modeled a life of love? In what specific ways do they love God and others well?
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This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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