The revelation stuck. I can’t help but tell you about it. It was the most important relational lesson I think I’ve ever learned.
The lesson is simple to understand, becoming consistent at it is difficult. The lesson is that whatever we do relationally (today we are speaking of love), we should do it regardless of the response. What I mean is that when we love, we love, no matter what response we get. No expectations.
Why? Because expectations taint our love. If we love in order to get something, anything, we are not loving like Jesus loved. All of us have been guilty of loving to get something – even if it’s just the upturned smile of the one we love. When we are free from expectations, love regains its power. Loving without expectation could be the most powerful thing you ever do for yourself and those you love.[clickToTweet tweet=”If we love in order to get something, anything, we are not loving like Jesus loved.” quote=”If we love in order to get something, anything, we are not loving like Jesus loved.”]
When I started learning to connect I wanted to learn from the best sources. I thought it made sense to see if I could understand how Jesus loved. So I started researching the Bible to see if I could learn. After reading every passage in the Bible that I thought described how God, and notably Jesus, loved; I found a unique quality. God always loves regardless of response.
Tracking back through the history of God’s people reveals a pattern of failure. Failure to return God’s love. Instances are almost countless. People fail over and over again to love God back after He shows them unconditional love. Regardless, He continues to love. Perfectly. Eternally. Patiently.
The impression this truth made on me was, if I wanted to be like Jesus, I needed to strive to imitate the way He loves. I needed to love regardless of response. That meant I had to correct a lot of false ideas deeply imbedded in my heart and mind. I had to submit myself to the power of the Spirit who could love others through me. I had to live every day determined to love everyone God placed in my path and not look for a response – of any kind. I had to know that Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB) was a pattern that the Spirit could empower me to copy.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.[clickToTweet tweet=”When we are free from expectations, love regains its power.” quote=”When we are free from expectations, love regains its power.”]
The ultimate test of love is to endure sacrifice, to lay down one’s life for a friend (John 15:13), and Hebrews clearly teaches that Jesus passed the test. The secret to His endurance, His ability to love without response, is found in the phrase in bold type above, ‘for the joy set before Him’. In my case, I can say, ‘for the joy set before Jim’, I can endure. By the power of the Spirit, for the sake of Jesus, and for the joy of the Father, I can love and not demand anything. Like Jesus.
Knowing it’s possible is not knowing how though. We’ll be exploring just how Jesus was able to endure and what ‘the joy set before Him’ is and how to plug into it. Learning the truths that Jesus lived will give us the secrets to loving regardless of response. Stay tuned.