Week of February 13, 2011

Jesus' Greater Love

Jesus encourages us to, "Love each other as I have loved you". In our Marriage Workshop, sometimes we remind people of this scripture and suggest possibly incorrectly that they relate it to their spouse. Although at times it appears that Jesus is talking about having love for everyone; like when He says to love your "neighbor" or your "enemies" like you love yourself. In the "Love each other" statement however, it appears that Jesus is referring to people who produce a lot of "fruit" and "obey My commands". A distinction may be the comparison to loving as you love "yourself" verses loving like Jesus loves us. Jesus describes His love when He says "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend" and then clarifies that "You are My friends if you do what I command". It may be more correct to encourage love for your spouse like you love "yourself" which should also be like the love you have for your "neighbor" or your "enemies". Yes, you may also be in the greater love category, if you and your spouse do what Jesus commands1.

As we are not to judge others, how do we know if God considers some one is doing as Jesus commands? Without judging, how can we know if people are considered to be bearing fruit? An initial response might be if a person is willing to "lay down his life for his friend". And God mentioned to John about people who "did not love their lives so much that they were afraid of death". Unfortunately a few centuries after these statements were recorded, Satan seems to have helped Mohammed create a widespread false religion, where people seem to be convinced to give their lives for many different reasons. Jesus says everything I "say" and "do" is what God tells Me to say and do. When Jesus gave His life for us, He was doing what God wanted Him to do. Only you can know if you are not concerned about your life because you are doing what the one, true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who has a son named Jesus, wants you to do. We love like Jesus loves, if we are doing what God wants us to do. After Jesus spent some fun time ministering to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus says, "My food is to do what the One who sent Me wants Me to do". When you enjoy sharing about Jesus or God and you see that you are helping someone and find your yourself getting excited, you may not be concerned about the pleasure of eating and you may in a small way have insight into the feeling that Jesus is describing. Seek "doing what God wants" above everything else and God will take care of the rest2.

1. Jn 15:8-14; Mk 12:31; Mt 5:44 (NI)

2. Rev 12:11; Jn 12:49; 14:31; Jn 4:34; Mt 6:33 (IC)

note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations

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A Psalm for reflection "Give thanks to the God over all gods. His love continues forever". Ps 136:2 (IC)

Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).


To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop

"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."

Expectations, we all have them. If they happen, we feel great. If they do not happen, we are very disappointed. Our expectations can affect every part of our marriage. Where do they come from? We can develop expectations from our friends, the media, T V, movies, our relatives, etc. We may want to consider the source of our expectation, if our expectations about marriage come from people who consider themselves experts because they have been married many times, we may want to reconsider those expectations. Yes, some expectations that seem stupid to one couple may be considered great in another marriage. Communicating your expectations with your spouse can help. (a good time to use the Speaker Listener Technique) Anticipating your communication can help. If you have an expectation that might be considered unreasonable, you may anticipate that the expectation will not be well received and refrain from suggesting it and possibility even alter your expectation. Remember that you fell in love with your spouse the way they are and not to try to change them to fit some preconceived expectation. I've known of women dying their hair because their husband always wanted a wife with a different hair color.

The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage ("all things are possible with God", Mark 10:27 NIV). Without your spouses help you may still inquire about what your spouse wants or expects and communicate your expectations. People usually like to talk about what they want. Remember that you fell in love with your spouse the way they are and not for some way you hoped they could be.

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