Summary: Responsible love will help us with self control.
Love that Keeps Yourself in Control
Responsible Love with Others – Part 1
We want to look at how God teaches us as Christians to love. I want to call this love “responsible love.” You can love someone responsibly or irresponsibly. The Bible teaches us to be responsible in our love to one another.
How do I know this?
The reason that I know that the Bible teaches us to be responsible in our love to another is this. The Bible teaches Christians that the primary goal in life is to love God and love one another. Paul says that love is the only debt that we should owe others. He also goes to show in Romans 13:9 that the Old Testament can be summed up in our goal to love.
Paul narrows some of the Ten Commandments – the commandments dealing with others around you to a summary statement. This statement: “Love your neighbor as yourself” comes from Leviticus 19:18.
If our primary goal in life is to love God and love one another, then there must be a proper way to love God and a proper way to love one another. These verses in Romans 13 sow us the proper way to love others.
The verse may say “love your neighbor.” Your neighbor is not just the person next door. Your neighbor is defined as everyone else but yourself.
The Bible teaches us that we should be responsible in our love toward others. The Bible also describes how we should be responsible in our love to other people. The way we love others should be responsible. The way to be responsible in our love to everyone else is defined in Romans 13:10. The Bible says that love should be a love that does no harm to others. This means that there is a wrong way to love and a right way to love others. When how I act hurts others, then I am not loving responsibly. In essence, the Bible says that I am not really loving someone. But when I am responsible with my love, when I do no harm to others in how I love others, then it is the right way to love.
Now, the right way to love, is to love responsibly. When I love in a responsible way, I am saying that I will love without doing harm.
Just as a doctor heals you by not doing harm, you love others best when you love by doing now harm to others. Now just as a doctor has ways and methods that he uses to heal you and not to harm you, you and I can love other without doing them harm. How can I love someone responsibly? How can I love someone without doing them harm? The way you do that best is by restraining your own behavior.
When I express my love to someone else, and I do it responsibly, and I do it without causing them harm, then my love stays in control. My love stays in control and it works best in others when I restrain my own behavior. I love others responsibly best when I keep my behavior from getting out of control.
ILLUSTRATION: REINS ON A HORSE
Christians are called by the Bible to walk properly. The emphasis in our walk is to be in the day as opposed in the night. The use of the word day is used in the New Testament to describe good character. We walk in public in a way that others can see. We walk in public in a way that others will want to follow.
How should a Christian walk? A Christian should follow Jesus like a horse follows its rider. If you have ever rode a horse, you know that you ride on top of the horse on a saddle. You control the horse through the use of reins and a bridle.
The bridle is the tool that keeps the horse under the rider’s control. When the rider lets the bridle loose, the horse can run faster and the horse has more freedom to move. When the rider tightens the bridle, the rider controls the movements of the horse. The horse learns to follow the instructions of the rider by learning to control his movements.
The bridle restrains the movements of the horse. The bridle prevents the horse from getting out of control. The bridle is controlled by the rider through a pair of bridle reins. The rider holds the set of reins, which are straps of leather tied to the bridle. When the rider has control of the reins, the horse learns to control his own movements. The bridle along with the reins teach the horse how to keep itself in control.
Self control, a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), is a restraint that we place on ourselves to stop ourselves from getting out of control. We stop ourselves from getting out of control by restraining ourselves. We are the rider, and how we act is the horse.