The Carnegie Institute has stated that 90% of all people who fail in their jobs and careers do so because they cannot get along with others. Rude or self-centered behavior only hurts your goals and turns others away. Everyone seeks love. Society expects politeness, particularly from Christians who claim to follow Jesus.
The Bible tells us that love is not self-seeking. This means that we are never to take advantage of others. We are to be empathic, placing others before ourselves. We are to be considerate, appreciative, and never critical. We are to make allowances for the shortcomings of others and control our anger. Our call is to lift one another up, never dictating to one another our standards, or demanding or manipulating others to get our way.
Because God loved us so much, He never had a self-seeking attitude. If He had, He would never have sent His Son on our behalf (John 3:16). Love is the seeking of His truth, and finding a way to bring it to others.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:5b
· A vital aspect of real, biblical, Christian love is that love is extreme! Real love takes us beyond who we are and what we want and focuses us upon others as Christ did with us.
Love is not just about our feelings. It isn’t sappy or over-romantic. Nor is it about being clever and manipulative. Rather, real love takes us to the max…beyond our self-interests. If we do not have real love, we just have desires, pride, and lust. Thus, what we have has no real value to anyone or to God, and it definitely does not protect (Mark 12:28-31; John 13:34-35; 15:9; Eph. 2:4-7).
· Real love is selfless. When we are just self-seeking, we are selfish and unconcerned with eternal values or with serving our Lord. By doing this, we fall into a trap, not because of God’s vengeance, but because we are not doing as we should. As a result, natural consequences will take over.
God’s precepts are for our benefit and protection; He gives us what is best for us, just as loving parents would do for their child. The fullness of love makes our relationships real and centered upon godly directions.
We can seek the love of 1 Corinthians 13, and this will compel us to share our richness as Christians with both ourselves and with others. So, out of our completeness in Christ, we can build ourselves up in Him, casting away what has hurt us, what causes us to fear, and what is wrong, replacing it all with biblical character and values. This will be the foundation upon which to create the lasting bonds with Christ and others, as we glorify our Lord and live in and for His Church (Prov. 10:12; Phil. 2:21; Col. 1:13).
· Real love is good news. Love is not salvation; love can’t save you, but we can’t share the Gospel unless we understand Christ’s love and be examples of it. You can’t be an effective or growing Christian if you are not a person who can give and receive love. The love we experience is directly connected to the love we give, and it all rests on the love of Christ for us all.
Being self-seeking is like being rude and arrogant; it is the opposite of real, impacting love. It causes us to disrespect, humiliate, undermine, put down or show up another person either subtly or adversely. This is an aspect of pride and/or hurriedness, which are the direct opposites of our call and the teaching of our Lord. It pushes people away and thus we derail our opportunities and call. Behaving selfishly dishonors our God!
Devotional Thoughts and Applications:
Jesus calls us to an entirely different perspective and outlook of life. He wants us to transition our thinking from selfish and materialistic matters to eternal matters and relationships, which are far more valuable and important. With love as our motivation, and unselfishness as our goal, loyalty and faithfulness to God and to others can be built.
In addition, our attitude and mindset will also improve so when we face trials, setbacks, and hurts, we will be better able to handle difficult people and our hurts and fears. We can learn and grow from them. The result is a deeper love and an ability to endure whatever life throws at us (Matt. 5:38-44; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16-20.
The fullness of love will come when we are first seeking Christ and His work in us, so we are pursuing righteousness and all that is good as a way to glorify Christ as Lord. This real and authentic love is essential-not only for our faith development, but also in how we prepare ourselves to build relationships and interrelate with others.
Q. What examples have you seen of people being considerate, appreciative, and never critical to you? How did this make you feel? How have you exemplified these to others? How do you think they felt?
Q. How can modeling Christ-like character be contagious and inviting for others to examine and accept our faith?
© 2012, Rirchard J. Krejcir Ph.D.
Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/