Keith Sanford of Baylor University surveyed over 3,500 married couples and analyzed the words couples chose to describe a past argument and the feelings and behaviors of each partner during the disagreement. What he found was that every argument, covering everything from dirty clothes on the floor to the meaning of life, came down to two fundamental concerns: (1) one person feels that he or she is being unjustly blamed or controlled because of something that has nothing to do with the argument and/or (2) one partner feels neglected, and this causes the other partner to think – “You don’t really care about me” or “You are not as invested in this marriage as I am.”
In other words, the research revealed that most fights are driven by two things: a perceived threat or a perceived neglect. In 1 John 4:18, the Apostle John narrowed it down to one thing, fear. Fear of being accused, fear of being neglected, fear of being controlled, fear of losing control, fear of losing connection — fear causes us to try to preserve our life by defending ourselves or by withdrawing from the battle entirely.
It’s been said that, “Our thoughts determine our actions, our actions create our habits, and our habits construct our destiny.” The challenge is not just to have good thoughts, but for our thoughts to move from an action which we do occasionally into a habit that we perform daily. When we habitually operate in fear, we will try to protect our own rights and preserve our lives. The focus is all on what “I” am getting out of my relationship. The greater question is, what is God getting out of our relationship? Matthew 16:25 says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” NLT We have a choice, do it our way and ultimately lose what God has for us. Or we can do it God’s way, which means dying to self, and eventually we will possess an abundant life of love!
Perfect love means mature, fully developed, complete love. The word for love here is agape love, which is unconditional love. We must “know” the agape love of Christ. To know His love means that we must experience it. In other words, we will have to operate in the love of Christ, not just talk about it. We will have to walk it out. We can not walk in love if we don’t experience difficult, frustrating, disappointing and unlovable situations.
As you express love towards those who you may feel do not deserve it, you become more like Christ, because He loved us when we did not deserve it. You become fearless…not afraid of not getting what you believe you deserve. You don’t attack others demanding your way, or withdraw because you feel neglected. No, you can press into God and release love because you are getting immense love from Christ and that’s more than enough. Give and you shall receive…pressed down and running over. The more love you release, God promises that you will reap it…if you do not quit. The love your heart longs for can only be experienced through sacrifice. Love never fails. Keep loving!
perfect God. perfecting people.