Love Is Not Self-Seeking
This is the seventh blog in this series on love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Giving Ourselves To God
We may think to not be self-seeking means that we have to please everyone. The Bible tells us to deny ourselves and lay down our lives for others, but if we learn from Jesus’ example, He didn’t live to please everyone. He lived to please God by doing His will, which was for the benefit of everyone.
In order to lay down our lives for the benefit of others we have to first lay down our will and submit it over to God. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
After trying everything I possibly could, I hit a point in my life where I gave up and basically said to God, “Here I am Lord. If You can do anything with my life and have anything planned for me, I’m all Yours.” I stopped trying to plan my life and stopped seeking my own will, and that is when I opened the door for God to live His will through me.
As we give ourselves to God, He works His love in us and enables us to love others. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Being married and having four young children who constantly need my attention, sometimes I feel like all I do is give of myself and at the end of the day there’s nothing left in me. I’ve learned that I need to spend time daily with God and allow Him to continually fill me with His love in order to keep giving myself to others.
We can’t give something that we don’t have. We can’t give ourselves to others when we’re spiritually empty. Jesus often went without food to keep preaching and meeting the needs of others, but He never neglected His relationship with God as we see in Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
We will just be left spiritually and emotionally drained if we keep trying to do things for others without allowing God to work His love in us. We need to take the time to spend with God and allow Him to fill us with His love in order to share it with others.
Giving Ourselves To Others
As we commit ourselves over to God we can focus on loving others. God wants to fulfill our needs and desires while using us to bless others. I’m amazed at seeing how God meets my needs when He prompts me to commit whatever I’m facing over to Him and moves me to meet someone else’s need.
About a year ago, my husband and I were both hit with car trouble four consecutive times in a row. We would drop off one car to be fixed and then something would happen to the other and then we’d have to keep switching them out. By the fourth time my car needed to be fixed, my husband suggested that we wait since it was still drivable, and we had spent all we had on the other repairs.
A short time later, as the problem continued, I started to fall into self-pity. God quickly humbled me by informing me of a couple I knew who had gone through an extremely rough year, financially, emotionally, and physically. My problems didn’t even compare to what they had been through. I was moved by their situation and eagerly wanted to reach out and help them. I asked my husband even though I wasn’t sure we could even afford it. My husband was for it so I knew God was moving us to help them and He’d take care of us.
After reaching out to them, I got into my car to go home. When I turned on the ignition I instantly noticed the problem was gone. I was just amazed at how God took care of us while using us to take care of someone else.
God wants to meet our needs and bless us, but when our minds are on ourselves we miss out on what God has for us and miss out on meeting the needs of others.
There are many different ways God wants to use us to meet people’s needs. When we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit He will show us what people need. Like Jesus, sometimes what God prompts us to do won’t necessarily make us feel good or please others, but it will be what is needed.
I had to do something for someone one time that was very difficult. I actually prayed for God not to have me do it because I knew this person wouldn’t respond well. Nevertheless, I ended up laying down my will and obeying God. And even though this person wasn’t happy with me, I eventually saw the changes God brought about in their life. This showed me that it was truly for their benefit.
People will not always approve of us, but when we lay down our needs for others, and seek God’s will, lives will truly be changed, ours included!
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16
Amanda Beth is a wife and mother of four children, and author of an upcoming book titled: YOU CAN HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children. She has been married for 14 years and has experienced transformation in her life and marriage since she surrendered her heart to Christ ten years ago. http://www.amandabeth.net/