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If You Love Me, You Will …
Learning to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, and Mind—and Others as Yourself
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God’s Ideas of Love
A good friend and mentor of mine, Dr. Paul Carlisle, once taught me one of the most valuable ideas which God has used to shape my belief system and enhance my relationships of all kinds. Dr. Paul spoke these words to me: “The will cannot choose from ideas the mind does not hold.” Please reread and ponder that statement. I hope it will impact your life as it has mine. The concept is that we can operate only from the ideas our minds hold within. These ideas come from different places, with one place being our family environment when we were young, this is called “formation”. Those who have studied the psyche (Greek word psuche for “soul”) understand the importance of this formation in the makeup of who we are at the core. Many good books exist on the topic of formation. Our souls have been taught and have experienced others’ ideas of what love is and isn’t, and once our souls have come to know something, they can’t unknow it. They must then learn new ideas of what true love is to experience and offer it in its intended form; this is sort of like learning a new language, once learned, it’s what you naturally speak and what you know. If you want to speak a different language, you must learn one.
Others also influence our ideas such as extended family members, teachers, friends, good or bad experiences, traumas, and many other factors. I say this to lay the foundation for understanding why we love the way we do and where our decisions come from if left to their natural inclinations. So part of any learning and growing process must contain the holding of new ideas before the mind. The mind can then determine what to hold onto as profitable or true and reject what isn’t profitable, or false. We cannot grow in our relationships and understanding of how love works in its many forms if we don’t find or experience new ideas about love and how it can and should manifest itself.
Any new idea must be based on a proved standard for it to be worth holding before the mind to be used in relationships or any decision-making process of what is true and good. I believe strongly that God and His ideas should be considered the standard for our ideas of love. First John 4:8 tells us that “God is Love” (KJV and most versions). He is the very essence of what love is and should be. So when we base our ideas of love on an understanding of how God loves and teaches us to share that love, in my opinion, is the most important idea to grasp in understanding how to enhance and maneuver through relationships of any kind.
I have witnessed long-time Christians and even pastors exhibit a lack of appropriate love all in the name of God, or their ideas of standing up for what they believe. All the while they left people hurt in their wake, in pursuit of being right. Let me give you a couple of examples from Gods word to show how He prioritizes these matters:
What Does Jesus Say?
Matthew 22:34–39 says, “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”’”
Several verses indicate this idea of loving God and others. And while many are familiar with these verses of scripture and can even quote them, not many know the following verse 40. “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” This verse identifies the priority these verses have over all other teachings or commandments. All principles the law was meant to teach, and every idea the prophets were trying to convey, has been given context in which to operate. First Corinthians 13 further validates this point.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
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About the Book
If You Love Me, You Will … examines how the Bible defines love and applies that understanding to human behavior—and especially to Christians. Author Michael Gonzales shares true stories from his life to illustrate the theme of love and provide examples that all of us can appreciate and relate to. Those who have been confused by the world’s definition of love will find much illumination for their relationships with God, those around them, and even themselves. Men and women alike will benefit from the principles contained in If You Love Me, You Will … for the good of all their relationships.
About the Author
Michael Gonzales combines life experience with Biblical learning in order to share new ideas on how to have healthy relationships by following the model God has laid out for humankind. If You Love Me, You Will … shares true life stories to illustrate the theme of love and provides examples that all of us can appreciate, relate to and learn from. Those who have been confused by the world’s definition of love will find much illumination for their relationships with God, those around them and even themselves.