5 Steps for Becoming a More Loving Person

You’ve tried it over and over again. You want to show more grace. You want to be patient with people. Then, you get out into traffic, and somebody cuts you off. There goes patience out the window.

How do we become loving people who can endure the annoyances of life? In my last post, I explained five characteristics of real love. But how do we get there? Let me give you five steps for doing so.

1. Pray. Have you actually asked the God of the universe to make you into a loving person? God’s grace is available. The power of Christ’s resurrection is at work in this world. The Holy Spirit works love in our hearts. But God wants us to ask! Have you asked? The Apostle Paul said, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9). Paul prayed that God would give the Philippian Christians more love and more insight into how to love well. And so should we.

2. Reflect on how you think about people. A lot of our reactions to people our automatic. We don’t understand well what we are really thinking. We need to examine our own thoughts and feelings. We can do this by journaling, praying, or talking with others.

To get you going in this, consider some of the following questions:

  • What do you think when people do something you disagree with?
  • When you see people on the street, what do you think of them?
  • When you meet new people, what is your thought about them?
  • What do you think and feel when people disappoint you?
  • What sort of expectations do you have for what people should do for you?

These and many other questions like them can help you think through how you view people. When you do that, you can take the next step.

3. Re-think how you view people. In Paul’s love chapter in Romans 12, he tells us that we need to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (v. 2). He teaches us that love begins in the heart. It needs to be sincere. How we think and feel about people is what is in our heart. What do we actually see when we see other people? Do we see them as God sees them? We have to think about what is going on in our hearts and minds and be transformed.

Here are a few ideas to get you going on re-thinking your view of people.

  • What do I think human beings are?
  • What do I think the possibility of connecting with people is?
  • What are some ways I could view people’s attacks that would make me less reactive?
  • How could I view the fact that people are different in a good way?
  • When people block my goals, can I view this in ways other than an attack?

You can use these directions to begin to re-think your conception of people.

4. Put new thoughts into practice. It’s not enough to think about things. We have to put them into practice. For me, I noticed that my anxiety would go up when I wasn’t achieving a goal. Then, I would often be short or terse with people. I recognized that this is not how I wanted to live. I drive Uber. I often have a vision of how it will work out. Regularly, a wrench is thrown into my plan. Sometimes, it is because of the unwitting action of my customers. For example, they may change their trip and make it less profitable for me. They are not trying to do me harm. They are just trying to figure it out. But this can make me upset, and I can show it in subtle ways. I have begun to practice not getting upset at this and just responding with kindness. This practice will have effects in other areas of my life.

5. Keep doing it. Perseverance is key. Character does not change in a day or a night. Even big and sudden breakthroughs take time to transform our thoughts and hearts. We have to keep going. Being a loving persons is one of the highest and most important goals we can achieve. It is worth working at it. We should keep praying, keep re-thinking, and keep practicing. This is how character and virtue develop.

That’s the method for character change. There’s no better time to start working on it than now. It is our destiny to be transformed into loving people. That’s what God is doing in this world. It is one of his highest priorities. That should motivate us to give ourselves to this work and keep at it. With His help, we can expect real progress in this life.

Thank you for reading this series on love. I hope it was a blessing to you. If you liked it, please consider sharing it and subscribing below. I hope to see you here again soon.

How Would Adam & Abraham Commune with God?

How would Adam and Abraham commune with God? There is a difference between the two in that Adam began as a creature unfallen into sin and Abraham was a sinful man. There is a similarity, however, in that both of them had limited amounts of special revelation. In other words, they didn’t have a large book (the Bible) to serve as the basis of communion with God. So, how did they commune with God?

For the evangelical Christian, communion with God is primarily through Bible reading. I regard this as a good thing, but I wonder if we miss something. If Adam and Abraham could have communion with God without reading through a large book, then this probably tells us that communion with God is at the least not completely identifiable with reading the Bible (though it may be part of it).

In addition, Bible reading is at best one relatively small part of our day (even if we read a lot of it!). How do we live the rest of our day in communion with God? Can we live life in such a way that we are continually communing with God? Continue reading “How Would Adam & Abraham Commune with God?”

Power to Change the World Around Us

There are some things we can learn fairly quickly like “Don’t throw a rock at a baby skunk.”

Other things take a long time, even a lifetime, of meditating upon in order to become habits of thinking and acting.

These include the basic ways we think about life and the principles we live by.

How do we transform the world? We need to get people to see things differently, to have a different vision for life and live by different principles.

This is so important and significant. What if we could see the world the way God sees it? What happens if someone really believes God is there? What happens when someone really believes that our moral actions matter before God for now and eternity? What if a person could see God’s amazing love and believe that it was for them? It would make a huge difference.

The way to change the world is to help people see differently. In Ephesians 1:3-14, the Apostle describes in lofty terms the beauty and glories of the good news that God is restoring all things and has chosen the people of the church in Ephesus to be a part of that marvelous plan (see my post on this here).

But it’s not enough to talk about it. We can’t just give people our words. We have to give them our lives. When Paul heard about the Ephesians and their faith, he praised God for them. He gave thanks for them. He had an affection for them, and he said so.

Most importantly, he prayed for them. He didn’t just give them the message. He knew that the work of seeing God’s truth was a work of the Spirit of God. This work of God’s Spirit is available for the asking, and so Paul kept asking.

And that’s what we need to do. We need to keep asking. How do change the world around us? We ask. We ask the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus to help people see differently.

Former Senate Chaplain Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie captured this sentiment in these words: “We are not a powerless minority in the face of evil. We can change the course of history, we can alter the trend of evil in our society, we can liberate people—if we will pray in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The Anxiety Cure

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6–7

Sometimes the things I need to learn are the most basic things.

This week, I attended a conference in Mississippi. I tried to go with an open heart to what the Lord would teach me.

What the Lord showed me was that there are many places in my life where I let frustrations or anxieties just sit there. In virtually every area of my life, there are low-grade frustrations. I don’t think I’m particularly weird because of that. Most of us have these types of frustrations.

But what had I been doing with those frustrations? Nothing. In some cases, they would build up with unpleasant results.

God reminded me this week that there is a cure to my anxieties and frustrations: prayer. God was inviting me to let go of my frustrations and seek Him in prayer through passages like Phil. 4:6–7.

So, I resolved by God’s grace that instead of letting frustrations sit there, I would bring them before the Lord. All throughout the week, I used frustration and anxiety as a signal to send me to prayer.

The results were remarkable, not in the people or circumstances I was praying about, but in myself. I felt more peace than I had felt in a long time. But that’s what God promised: “the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Lord, help me to remember to use my frustrations and anxieties as signals that point me to You.

Prayer in Preparation for Communion

By Jean Claude (1619–1687), from Self-Examination in Preparation for Receiving the Lord’s Supper

My God, my Savior, and my Father, I prostrate myself at the foot of your throne, to adore your majesty, and to acknowledge your righteousness. I am in your presence but dust and ashes, a worm of the earth, and most unworthy of your turning of your eyes towards me, or employing the cares of your Providence towards my good. For what is mortal man that you should regard him, or the son of man that you should visit him?
Continue reading “Prayer in Preparation for Communion”