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Grace to Love

“The man I’ll marry must be at least as good as my dog.” That is what the bumper sticker in front of me read.

It’s funny that someone would think that a dog could be the model for a good husband. That bumper sticker reveals two ideas: 1) Dogs are great, and 2) dealing with people can be very difficult.

Dogs give us so much love. I experienced this firsthand over the summer. My family and I welcomed Pudge, a black pug, into our home while his family was on vacation. Pudge became a loving and faithful companion. He integrated easily into our lives as we became his world. Maybe that’s why some people feel that dogs are better friends than humans: They give themselves completely to others.

Difficult relationships can make us feel that it’s impossible to truly walk in love, and we may lose hope. Yet Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). This presents us with a problem: We have a commandment to love, but it seems impossible to carry out.

What’s the solution?

First, we need to recognize that loving our neighbor requires faith. Andrew teaches in Living in the Balance between Grace and Faith that “personal relationships are the area of your life that will require the greatest faith.” Let’s think about that. A lot of people are learning to use their faith for finances, healing, salvation, etc. But at the same time, they are trying to love others through the arm of the flesh (their own personal effort). If we try to love through our own efforts, a dog’s love could surpass the love of a lot of people. We need God’s grace to love.

Andrew says,

Grace is something God did for you prior to you having a need for it. It is faith in God’s grace that releases His power in a person. Everything [including the ability to love] is available by the grace of God, but there has to be a faith response on our part to receive what is available by grace. That’s how you enter into God’s rest, then you have ceased from your own efforts. It’s no longer you doing something to make God move. It’s you learning how to trust and rely on the grace God has given you.

This is great news! Realize that when you put your faith in God, it’s no longer you trying to love; it’s you relying on the truth that God has given you the grace to love, and you can receive that grace by faith. First Peter 1:22 says,“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” ( New International Version). Receive God’s grace to love others, and you will be blessed in your relationships—the dog will just be the icing on the cake!

Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching will help you to walk in love like never before. It’s available in many formats: CD seriesDVD seriesbookstudy guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has inspired you, please post a comment below. 

Reader Comments (9)

good article! just what I needed

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave Shirvis

Yes indeed: only through Grace can we human beings learn to love like dogs do.

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaclovio T. J.

Great wisdom here. I believe the dog, and all of nature, exist in the state of Grace. Man has strayed, but has the potential to return to the state of Grace. And so instead of trying to fix the relationship, or fix the other person, we should focus our attention on returning ourselves to the state of Grace. Very inspiring words. Thank you!

August 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRene

'Walking in love' is the hardest command when situations are not just easy; it is good to hear that God's grace given to me will do the work when I walk by faith. I am seeking 'how to rest in God's finished work'-- and this article was a help to move further in the right direction. Thanks and God bless you!

August 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTina

I m greatly blessed by this article. GOD bless you the more

August 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel Damilare John

Thank you for this encouraging word. I struggle with love as I grew up in a negative environment. This post is very helpful. We too are in process of adopting a dog into our family. May the Lord Jesus bless you as you write again...

August 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEd Miears

I happened upon this article, as I was seeking God on this subject.. I am living in a difficult relationship. Not that I am doing it perfectly, I am sure that I have missed it too. But
it is very hard to walk in love with someone, who does not see the word of God as the answer to life's problems, especially if you are married to them.
Reading the article prompted me to ask the Lord to show me what that looks like in the practical daily life.

August 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGwen Watkins

I have a friend who was divorced by an adulterous husband after 33 years. After a couple years of self-help and going to a mega church, she decided to buy a big ring with a big gem on it and perform over herself a marriage ceremony. She married her "self." I pray for her a lot because I know she's not yet born again, and this "love of self" is not what Jesus meant when he said love others as yourself. I think we first have to ask God to define what he meant by that: how many of us lie to ourselves that we "love ourselves." Perhaps the first thing to realize is that we can't manufacture love, and its only limitless Source is God. All else (as in after "yes" or "no") is from the evil one. I think the most refreshing thing my believing friends say to me is "I love you but God loves you more." I have come to believe that praying for people to know Jesus and Truth is the best way to love myself and them at the same time, and God will guide our "actions" the rest of the way.

August 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSheri

Citlalli - thank you for listening to God's lead as you wrote a very powerful yet mainly unaddressed issue of loving others as we walk with Jesus. It comes at a time when I asked God to show me how to love others and your words in about the 5th paragraph strike my heart with new revelation as I see I have loved with my own effort. We need God's Grace to love. AWESOME!! Thank you also, to the others who have commented. I value and know God has used your words to encourage and sharpen me. May His Name be praised for this ministry based on His Truth.

August 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanita

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