EASTER SPECIAL: The Power of Passion – Applying the Love of Christ to Dating Relationships
I must confess that the title of this article is not original. It was borrowed from a book by Rob Eager, author, and expert on Christian dating. The book has since been republished under a new title. The Passion of Christ is really about a love story — the love of God for you and me. Therefore, connecting His passion with relationships is a good foundation for understanding what a loving relationship is all about.
We know that Jesus Christ is all about love, and He loved so passionately that he suffered humiliation and physical pains. In the Garden of Gethsemane, his anxiety and fear press him so intensely that he sweats blood. Lashed by the whip, his flesh was ripped by the torturer’s cruel instruments. Helplessly, he struggles to stand, and freely chooses to do so is in love. How does this brutality relate to love? The answer lies in that he freely surrendered his will to the will of his father and our father. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15: 12-13 (NIV)
The word, love has been abused in our time, in that it has in many ways lost its meaning and connection with the divine purpose. In today’s world, loving someone means making he or she feel good, emotionally or physically. We want to feel good, but not bind. This is because the idea of a binding love between a man and woman for life has been corrupted in a culture that promotes self-gratification as love. No Christian should choose to follow the ways of the world in love.
Christ’s passion enables us to understand love and freedom. Instead of love giving us something like enjoyment and fulfillment, we should rather seek to give of ourselves, to bring fulfillment and joy to others by serving them, even if in serving others we endure suffering.
There are many who are single (even in a marriage) not because they cannot have a partner, but because there is something they value more than love, their personal freedom. When we consider the value our culture places on personal freedom relative to self-giving love, only then can we understand the dilemma that we found ourselves. Freedom has become our absolute goal and the highest value humanity strives after. If love is what binds one person to another, it limits personal freedom.
The freedom as a single or in marriage is not greater than the love that Jesus commanded us and which He fulfilled through his self-giving love. Freedom should not be the absolute goal, love is. Freedom without love is useless. Jesus showed us that Love is far greater than freedom, for a person is fulfilled with love and not freedom.
Love is genuine when it freely given and there is only one way to prove it, through freedom. Freedom can be a barometer to measurement the temperature of love and the degree of its reality,
Jesus chose freely to undergo his unspeakable suffering, which forever marks the ultimate both of a man’s love for other men and God’s love for man. This love is best defined as self-giving. On Calvary, Jesus, because of love, pours himself out for us in this greatest sacrifice. And by pouring himself out he shows us how he loves, and how we are to love.
Viewed from the perspective of what Christ accomplished for us, our understanding of love and freedom changes radically. Instead of love giving us self-aggrandisement, we look to give of ourselves, to bring fulfillment and joy to others by serving them, even if in serving others we endure suffering.
We understand the self-giving nature of Jesus’ sacrifice through his death on the cross. He showed patience, humility and overpowering love for the very men who killed him.
For those in bondage through unforgiveness or guilt from past relationship, we can regain the freedom to love by forgiving and hope in a new opportunity to love as Jesus showed us to love. Suffering and pains intensify and purify our capacity to love and makes it genuine, real, and solid.
Jesus is the ultimate experience of love. So let us passionately follow his example. We must allow Jesus to penetrate our heart with His infinite love.
Article by Sonny A. Samuel