Perfected Love: How to Love More Fully

Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. ~Michael Leunig

Perfected Love. It sounds impressive but impossible. When we think of ‘perfect’, we assume it means always behaving rightly. The term, perfected, however, means to improve, to fine-tune, hone or refine. It originates in God and develops in us through our ever-increasing understanding of His Word.

If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us (I John 4:12). Love, particularly God’s love in us, is never stagnant, it continues to grow and develop throughout our lifetime. It doesn’t mean we always say or do things perfectly. It means we continue speaking the truth in love, [as we] grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ (Eph. 4:15).

The Bible has a lot to say about love. For God so loved the world … Love was fully demonstrated by Jesus, who gave Himself without restraint or regret. And it is your spirit’s deepest desire. To love fully, completely and without reservation; to be rooted and grounded in Love, as Eph. 3:17 describes.

“Is it possible to live that kind of life?” you might ask. And the answer is, “Yes, you can.” Here are six essential steps to strengthen you and help you learn to love more fully.

Receive Divine Love.

God is the Author and Source of all love and goodness – every bit of it! He wants to show His lovingkindness to you, (Eph. 2:6-7); however, you must receive His gifts and His guidance.

Have you ever tried to give someone a gift that they didn’t want? How did it feel? God feels the same way when we reject His goodness. Only He can give you the peace and patience to love unconditionally.

You cannot give away what you do not have. Unless you receive the abundance of His love, you will love incompletely and, often, selfishly. The Amplified Classic Bible says, if we love one another [with unselfish concern], God abides in us, and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] is completed and perfected in us (I John 4:12). Perfected love is a process, directed by God. Step into the assurance of God’s love for you. Believe His compassion and mercy, and doubt not.

Love yourself freely.

  • Do you struggle to forgive yourself for past sins and mistakes?
  • Does guilt have you trapped?
  • Do you tend to avoid compliments, or feel unworthy when someone tries to value you?
  • Do you feel unloved and unlovable?

I struggled with the first one this week. The devil worked overtime to keep me feeling bad … until I recognized his tactics. I would not have been upset if I had been the subject of someone else’s bad attitude. So why was I allowing myself to lose my peace when I could ask God’s forgiveness and receive His peace.

Jesus taught that you should ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt. 19:19) –with the same love and appreciation that you give to others. Release the guilt, shame, blame and other negative feelings about your past. Value yourself because you are God’s creation – a one-of-a-kind priceless person, ordained by God to fulfill His vision – and your mission – to love yourself and others more fully and completely.

Put love into action.

James 2:20 says that ‘faith without works is dead’. Well, love without works is non-existent. Love doesn’t survive in isolation. It needs an object and an action. It also needs motive and intention.

Selfishness dilutes love, making it ineffective. For instance, if you are doing something for your spouse with the hope that he/she will return the favor, it is not love; it is manipulation. Your motives should be directly linked to God – with a desire to please and serve Him by valuing and serving others.

Love in action does not have to be complex or costly. A smile or a hug, attentive listening, time given freely, favors extended without thought of return are all love in action. Love is not complicated. It is the simple art of extending compassion, empathy and assistance freely.

Don’t count the cost.

It’s very easy to wonder if our ‘good works’ are worth the effort. The answer is … absolutely! Even if the people around you are unaware or ungrateful, God always notices. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only … he shall in no wise lose his reward (Matt. 10:42).

Consider the process of filling a glass. A few drops don’t make much difference. A bit more may still seem insignificant. You don’t really notice until it’s almost full. And sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, it may run over before you’re aware of it!

Love is like that. A dab or two here and there may get lost in the other person’s consciousness. They are too busy dealing with life’s challenges to take note. However, if you keep pouring on the love, attention, compassion, empathy and support, it will eventually spill over into their awareness.

And – for those very selfish, self-absorbed souls who may never notice – you’ll find blessings from God in unexpected places. All because you remained obedient to the commandment of unconditional love. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou hast come to trust (Ruth 2:12).

Love your enemies.

Notice, it doesn’t say you have to spend time with them! You can, however, creatively bless them. Your most powerful tool is prayer. Speak God’s promises into their lives. Intercede on their behalf.

God’s Word says to pray for them who persecute you (Matt. 5:44), be kind and treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you (read Luke 6:35 AMP for the whole instruction).

Seek ways to show compassion. Mentally put yourself in their place and seek to empathize with their point of view. You don’t have to agree, just understand. Ask God for wisdom in your dealings with them. If you listen wisely, He will direct your actions for maximum good. You are His agent for good in this world.

Forgive.

Forgiveness is a pivotal principle of God’s plan. Psalm 103:3 affirms that God forgives all your iniquities (sins). That promise is listed as one of His benefits. Verse 1 reminds you to forget not all His benefits.

Matt. 18:35 says to ‘freely forgive … from your heart’. Mark 11:26 teaches that ‘if you don’t forgive, then God can’t forgive your failings and shortcomings’ (AMP). And Luke 6:37 explains that forgiveness means to ‘give up resentment and let it drop’ (AMP).

Every time you remember the incident, tell yourself that you have already forgiven that. (Cast down those imaginations! -2 Cor. 10:5) Don’t let emotion alter your decision to forgive.

Perfected Love

Reaching perfection in anything requires practice. Let me say, however, that perfected love is not always perfect in the usual sense of the word. Perfection indicates maturity, the ability to choose reason over emotion, compassion instead of selfishness. It is a day-to-day and often, hour-by-hour cognizance of the effect of your words and actions.

Perfected love means accepting God’s love and striving to reflect that love to others. It means honoring yourself and your worth, despite your imperfections. And it means sharing mercy, compassion, understanding and forgiveness with everyone around you. Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Eph. 5:1-2). Practice that, and you will find yourself living a life of perfected love.

Comments

comments

Speak Your Mind

*