The Context of God’s Prescription
When God establishes a personal relationship with us, his Spirit seals and adopts us into a brand-new, Christ-centered life.
We are instructed to rely on spiritual power we’ve never had before as we speak, work, relate, and grow in our love for God and our love for others.
Four Steps in God’s Prescription
Ephesians 5:1-2 [Therefore] be imitators of God. (as beloved children); and walk in love, (just a Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us), [an offering] and [a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma].
Step 1: Instead of looking for the right person, become the right person.
Our love for others flows out of our sense of being deeply loved.
Instead of looking for love, God tells us to realize that love has already found us.God loves as no one else ever can.
Imitating God means that in relationships we are to be kind, tenderhearted, empathetic, discerning, willing to make allowances for people’s mistakes, and consistently forgiving.
It means we want good for them.
We forgive because we realize that we must pass on to others what God has given us. We who have been freely forgiven must, in turn, freely forgive.
We will not be able to imitate God in our love for others unless we know that we are blessed, valuable, and significant—that we are loved. (1 John 4:19)
Any time you want to build intimacy with a person before your identity is fully in Christ and you know and feel secure and strong in Him, you will be expecting that person to do something for you that he or she cannot do.
The key to lasting relationships is developing a relationship with God through Christ in such a way that you are secure in who you are in Him.
Step 2: Instead of falling in love, walk in love.
Walking in love is about sacrificial commitment.
Walking in love means giving the other person what he or she needs the most when it is least deserved, because that’s exactly how God has treated you.
Love is giving the other person in the relationship what he or she needs the most, not necessarily what he or she wants the most.
Love is a sacrificial, other-centered action that provides what’s best for the other person.
God’s way is very hard on the feelings, but it’s very healthy for the soul.
Genuine love isn’t a passive, quivering mass of good feelings; genuine love is a deliberate, intentional, honest, and even painful giving up of self-preservation for another person’s good.
Step 3: Instead of fixing your hopes and dreams on another person, fix your hope on God and seek to please him through this relationship.
The goal of relationships is not to make sure everything goes our way or makes us happy. The goal is to please God.
God’s prescription creates an exciting prospect in which two people are actually learning to please a third—God—by the way they respond to him and to each other.
Instead of trying to find out what’s wrong with the other person, instead of continually expecting him or her to conform to our needs, we must ask God to make us who he wants us to be and to help us to walk in love, giving sacrificially what the other person needs.
Great relationships involve struggle, conflict, working through issues, and refusing to demand, consciously or not, that the other person make our lives work.
Step 4: If failure occurs, repeat steps 1,2, and 3.
God tells us to start over on step 1—choose to become the right person.
We walk through the steps: imitate God, walk in love, fix our hope on God, and seek to please him in every one of our relationships. If failure occurs (and it will), we go back to square one and take the steps again.