Although directed toward single Christians, this article on how to love and be loved reveals a few basic principles that almost all Christians would benefit from learning. It's actually very simple to become more lovable, once you know how. Jack Zavada of Inspiration-for-Singles.com encourages us to follow the example of the most lovable person who ever lived.
How to Become More LovableWe all want to be loved.
As obvious as that may be, many single Christians feel guilty about wanting to be loved. Somewhere they got the idea that this desire is selfish.
We should give love and not expect to receive it, they think. They believe the ideal Christian is constantly doing good and being compassionate toward others, looking for nothing in return.
That may sound noble, but the truth is that God created us with the natural desires to love and to be loved.
Many of us don't feel very lovable. As a 56 year-old single person, I had trouble with that for years. Over time, however, God showed me that if I'm worthy of his love, I'm worthy of the love of other human beings too. But that can be a big step to take.
We want to be humble. It can seem arrogant for a single Christian to say, "I'm a lovable person. I'm worthwhile and deserve to have someone care deeply about me."
Achieving a Healthy BalanceAs single Christians, striving for a healthy balance means being neither needy nor cold.
Desperately seeking love and going to any length to receive it is off-putting. Instead of attracting people to us, it drives them away. Needy people are scary. Others believe they could never do enough to satisfy a needy person, so they avoid them.
On the other hand, cold, aloof people seem unapproachable. Others may conclude that it wouldn't be worth the trouble to try to break down the cold person's wall. Love requires sharing, and cold people seem incapable of that.
Confident people are the most attractive, and the best place to find confidence is from God. Confident people, both men and women, are fun to be around. They enjoy life more. They give off an enthusiasm that's infectious.
A confident Christian understands that they are deeply loved by God, which makes them less frightened of human rejection. Confident people insist on respect and receive it.
The Most Lovable Person Who Ever LivedDown through the centuries, billions of people have deeply loved someone they never met: Jesus Christ. Why is that?
We know, as Christians, that Jesus gave his life to save us from our sins. That ultimate sacrifice earns our love and worship.
But what about the peasants of Israel who didn't understand Jesus' mission? Why did they love him?
Never before had they encountered anyone who was genuinely interested in them. Jesus wasn't like the Pharisees, who burdened them with hundreds of manmade laws no one could possibly follow, nor was he like the Sadducees, aristocrats who collaborated with the Roman oppressors for their own gain.
Jesus walked among the peasants. He was one of them, a common carpenter. He told them things in his Sermon on the Mount they had never heard before. He healed lepers and beggars. People flocked to him by the thousands.
He did something for those poor, hardworking people that the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes had never done: Jesus loved them.
Becoming More Like JesusWe become more lovable by becoming more like Jesus. We do that by surrendering our life to God.
We all have personality traits that irritate or offend other people. When you surrender to God, he files down your rough spots. He carves away any pettiness or smallness in your life, and ironically, your personality is not diminished, but is softened and beautified.
Jesus knew when he surrendered to his Father's will, God's limitless love would flow through him and into others. When you empty yourself enough to be a conduit for God's love, God will reward you not only with his love, but with the love of other people as well.
There's nothing wrong with wanting others to love you. Loving others always takes a risk that you won't be loved in return, but when you know that God loves you no matter what, you can love like Jesus:
"A new command I give you: Love one another," (Jesus said). "As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)
Your life will become fuller and richer, and you will become more lovable.
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.
More from Jack Zavada for Christian Singles:
• Loneliness: Toothache of the Soul
• An Open Letter to Christian Women
• The Christian Response to Disappointment
• 3 Reasons to Avoid Bitterness
• Lying on God's Couch
• Can You Be Lonely Yet Happy?