Isn’t it interesting that close relationships can easily enter the zone of rights, privileges, and duties? Sadly, when this happens, even lovers switch from intentionally loving each other to the ‘tit for tat’ strategy. And because what goes around comes around, frustration and stress may start to pile up even in the best relationships.
If you, however, learn to practice intentional love, not only will your relationship and health improve, your productivity will also improve. Intentional love is active and not reactive while people pleasing is mostly reactive.
7 Steps To Intentional Love
- Get Your priorities right: Connect with your master daily. Make sure you know what you are doing so that you don’t have to feel bad saying yes or no.
- Start from Christ, not your right: We have been saved through faith. Let your love come from the mercies you receive from Christ, don’t be too preoccupied with thoughts about your rights and privileges. In Christ, you find peace, grace & wisdom.
- Make room in your mind & schedule for others. Don’t fully book yourself, reserve some quality time for the people you love.
- Excuse the faults of others, you are not perfect so are they.
- Don’t be afraid to say your mind. People cant read your mind, so don’t be afraid to share your mind respectfully to the other person. Even if you are misunderstood you can trust the Holy Spirit to clarify things. And I tell you this brings growth, both in your life and in your relationships.
- Don’t shun the wisdom of others. Be open to the wisdom of others, don’t trash others opinion. At least consider it, show them respect. You may find something good in it.
- Manage your mind. Guard the door of your heart. Get rid of any negative thoughts. Make sure that your old approval seeking lifestyle does not have to control you. You may also lay your hands on some ‘Renewing Your Mind’ bible study that will help to correct some of your wrong ideologies.
What other idea has helped you to love Intentionally?
Please leave me a comment below:
Hello! Hello!! This is Olu Sobanjo. I’m glad to have you again on Like Jesus Podcast. And I have my darling husband beside me here in the studio. Welcome!
Ade: Thank you! Hello Everybody.
Olu: We are very glad to always… We are very happy to have you all the time. Last week, we started talking about the part 1 of Intentional Love vs. People Pleasing. The idea that we started with is the fact that we all need to pay attention to our relationships and we need to genuinely, intentionally love people around us in order for us to get a better life; in order for us to have fruitfulness in every area of our lives where Jesus says, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” The idea is if you don’t work on your relationships i.e. the close relationships that you have, they would drag you back. Even though you are succeeding in some aspects, the fact that you are not doing well in your relationships, would drag you back and will slow you down. So, we were talking about that and one quote that I got from the book, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schultz, is where we ended it last week. The quote is this… I will quote it again and then we will start from there today. So, it says, “One way to keep a positive attitude, is to make sure you are doing what you believe is morally right. When people do things that they don’t feel good about like lying to a significant other or taking from a friend without asking, it harbors guilt and erodes confidence. This negativity always shows up in a bad attitude.” It says, “Being happy and comfortable with a decision, on the other hand, builds more confidence and therefore sustains your better moods.” So, last week you were talking about… And for many years, you’ve always been saying this and when I read this n the book, I actually got it. You’ve always been saying, “Do the best that you think is right for the person and don’t do anything wrong for the person” If somebody is in your life and they are close to you, it’s important and I now saw it clearly in this book. It says the fact that if you do something negative, something morally wrong with you, it harbors – you begin to develop guilt. Guilt weighs you down and erodes the confidence that you have in the relationship that you are building with this person and that is where the frustration sets in.
I’d like you to continue from where you stopped last week,
Ade: You know, as you were reading that again, I remembered that Jesus said that first. He said, “Do unto others what you want them to do to you.” So, it’s the same whenever we are dealing with anybody. I always think of myself being in the other person’s shoes and I want to treat me the way I want to be treated. So, I treat the person the way I want to be treated too. Even if they are mean to me and I ask myself, “If I was mean t me, how will I want to be treated?”
Olu: [cuts in] Or if someone was mean to me…
Ade: Yes… No! If I was mean to someone…
Ade: …I put myself in their shoes and say, “If I was mean to me, how would I want to be treated?” I won’t want to be slapped; I don’t want myself to be beaten so what would I want? I would want the person to forgive me because I am just being foolish. I didn’t know what is wrong with me that is why I am being mean.
Ade: I would now look at that person and say, “Well, the way I’m going to deal with you is… You know what? You are not going to get what you want. I’m just going to walk away from your meanness.” But I won’t go the extra mile and hurt them because I don’t want to be hurt…
Ade: I know that I am the mean guy, I won’t want to be hurt. I don’t want someone to punch me in the face.
Olu: You know the point you are bringing up is actually a very valid point. Over the years that I’ve talked to people, I’ve realized that it’s natural to actually be mean to the person when they are mean to you. It is you know… It feels good. You feel like you pay back…
Olu: You feel like they disrespect you, you give them what they deserve. They talk back to you, you punish them… It’s just a natural…
Olu: It is just a natural feeling – the flesh’s way of dealing with it. It is nice that you are bringing that up and I’d like to highlight the aspect of the grace that we have in Christ. You may not naturally feel like doing what you are saying.
Ade: It is Jesus that does it.
Olu: Yes! It is the Christ that is inside you – in us…
Ade: He lives that life in us. That is what He wants to do. And even when I react wrongly. I don’t react right all the time but I find that there is something in me that wants to do that. So, maybe someone borrows money from me and doesn’t return it and the next time I speak to them, I speak to them roughly. It is not that I go after them or… it’s just a little bit rough. The Holy Spirit would convict me that, “if you were the one that couldn’t pay, would you want to be disrespected and talked to anyhow?” I would still feel it inside me so, over time, I am learning to still treat the person how I want to be treated even if I am doing wrong. So, how will I want to be treated even when I’m wrong? That’s how I learn. What this guy is saying is that what happens to you when you do that – when you do the right thing is that you remove the guilt. There are other consequences, right? Some may people may try to ride you or abuse your kindness. We are not dealing with the outside one first. We will deal with that later but for now, for you – for internally, to feel good and to feel strongly that you are doing what you think is right by the Holy Spirit that is in you, you should do that.
Olu: And I think that there is growth in the aspect that we are talking about. There is the first the conviction that comes. The Holy Spirit will convict you and He’d help you to realize that you need to be like me in this aspect of your life because naturally, you don’t feel like doing it but then, gradually you see that the Holy Spirit is pushing you and telling you “But then, this is not the way you should behave to the person. I want to let our listeners know that it is possible to grow.
Ade: That’s right
Olu: In the first instance, you may not feel like doing it. This is coming from somebody that has practiced it over – the process of renewing your mind. There may be a difficulty at the beginning but then that is where you cry for help and you say, “Lord, help me to do this…” like the man that said, “I believe but help my unbelief.” So, somebody is mean to you and somebody is doing something to you and you naturally feel like you should actually give them a punch in the face. But then, you realize that there is help in Christ. Christ has all the patience; He has all the perseverance; He has all the long-suffering; He has all the love and the joy that I need. I tap into that and I’m able to do what I need to do.
Ade: Another point that I’d like to talk about is the fact that I used to want to react but there is something that God opened my eyes to see. Which is the fact that the reason why that person is doing that is that they don’t have Jesus the way I have Him? So, it’s not that I won’t… I could be the guy that is mean that needs a punch in the face and so if I punch somebody in the face because He needs a punch in the face, then I’m trying to say that I am better off than Him. But it is Jesus that makes me be like this – to see that I am not supposed to behave like that. So with those two things in mind, doing unto others what you’d like them to do unto you and also, understanding that what you have is as a result of God’s grace on your life, it really helps you to calm down and just love.
Olu: That’s true.
Ade: When I say love, just do what to your best knowledge, you think is best for the other not for you. Sometimes, you need to make a sacrifice. That is what love means. You know what is good for you, you know what is good for the other person – within limits, within boundaries. Some people are a little bit off. They just keep destroying themselves – they keep sacrificing themselves to the extreme. Not that. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about within limits and knowing how to say, “Okay, I will make some sacrifice because I want to bless this other person. I don’t need their gratitude. I’m just doing it for me, knowing that this is what Christ in me…”
Both: …wants me to do
Olu: Yes, Yes. I really like that. This was something that God also opened my eyes to see a while ago where I began to see it in such a way that many of the things that we see in people and we are angry about, they are things that we do to God as well. And when you are angry, it is very similar to that guy that the master forgave His debt and said, ‘Don’t bother paying.” And he said, “You know what? Fine. Thank you” and left. Somebody owed him something so little and he said, “Put him in jail. You have to pay me back.” Sometimes, we forget. The same thing that you are accusing something of, is the same thing that you are doing. Actually, the fact that you are able to accuse somebody of an offense, is because you forgot that you don’t have any right even in front of God. And so, bringing it back to the point when you remember that it always starts with, “Actually, I died. I don’t have a life anymore. Jesus has paid the price and that is why I am able to start here and so I can’t demand from anyone. In short, there is no demand that anybody can give because I mean, I am gone. I’m supposed to be dead right now in sin but Jesus brought me back to life so the life that I have right now is no longer mine. So, I extend the mercy that I have received from the other person.
I don’t know if there is anything else that you wanted to say…
Ade: Yes! There is now the other side. There is the other side where you’ve done your best but because you always want the approval – you want the other person to say you have done very good; you know that your best will not be good enough in the sight of the other person or maybe not because you really can’t say because you don’t know the other person’s mind. Then, you still go ahead and do your best but you feel bad because the other person is not approving what you have done. So, that, we need to also talk about which is the fact that once you have done your best from your heart especially having prayed and accepted that this is how much God has helped you, please try – let’s just try to always be confident in the fact that, “You know what? The Holy Spirit helped me this way and that is enough. Now, if someone says, “You are not enough, you didn’t do enough”, let’s not allow that to continue to bring us down.
Olu: That is true.
Ade: And bring guilt. We don’t have to allow that because if we do that, it is just like doing evil. You take the guilt on, the confidence goes off and there is that cycle again. So once you break off from that cycle, you do the best that you can do within what you think that the Holy Spirit is helping you with and you let the rest go.
Olu: That is true. That is very good. It just reminds me of the fact that the Holy Spirit is always with us.
Ade: That’s right!
Olu: And it doesn’t even end at that junction. It doesn’t end at the junction of my decision that I need to make quickly. He is still with me even after because sometimes we will even do wrong…
Ade: …Be the wrong one
Olu: Exactly! And the Holy Spirit is still there and you can still receive grace for the next step to take.
And so, we have a few things that we have put together – that we talked about as some of the things that would help as a guideline for people that are listening and are saying, “I want to intentionally love. Can you give me some things that I need to be doing?” Maybe they have tried before and the relationships around them are not, you know… Maybe they have difficult people that they live with or that they are in a relationship with and they just need some guidelines, just to guide them – to always bring them to a point where they know they need help. Would you like to start talking about some of the things that it’s just good to always have this as a checkmark in your mind?
Ade: Well the foundation of it is getting your priorities right. The foundation is what we were talking about – Making sure that your relationship with the Holy Ghost, with Jesus, is not broken at any point in time. If you can guard that, it goes a long way. The others will follow. So that is why we say don’t do what you think the Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to do and all that. So, once the relationship is right – your relationship is good, your way of operation is always love, always!!! Anything that is not lovely, is not what you think Jesus would do and you are not doing that and you are asking for help all the time. I think that is the foundation. You start from there. That would be the point number 1.
Olu: Thank you very much and the next point that I have there is very similar to that but it’s, Starts from Christ, not your rights. And I like that because just like the parable that Jesus gave of the servant that won’t forgive the other person, it is easy to forget about the fact that Christ forgave me and then begin to say, “This is my right. I’m the one that should… If I don’t tell you, nobody will tell you. If I don’t put my mind to it, t is not going to work. It is my right…” If you begin to go the route of the right, you are going out of them… you must always start with Christ which is Christ forgave you. You forgive other people. When you start with that, it helps you in your relationship with somebody that is very difficult. Some people, they are in very difficult relationships; for some people, they are in a mean environment; some single people, they may find themselves in environments that are so hostile to them but it still applies. Where you don’t start with the rights that you have as human beings which is very important but start with Christ and say, “The mercy that I receive, I give.” And I believe that helps a lot. It helps with intentional love. It is actually like a foundation of intentional love where you can actually give the best – you give the Christ-like life. That is what you are expecting in your relationship.
Ade: That is right. That is right! The other one is to make room in your mind and schedule for others which means… You know, we are talking about relationships with one another. There will be a need for one to make a sacrifice for another person to have a good time or to move forward spiritually or to move forward in their career and all that. So, we need to intentionally decide that I am going to take my time and give it to the other person; take from my resources and give to the other person; listen to the other person and allow them to take some of my rights so to say. All of these things come with communication – good communication…
Olu: That’s true
Ade: Once the communication is going well, then you will move forward. Now, there are relationships that the communication is mostly broken and there is no discussion ad some of these things can’t work specifically but these are good foundations – good things that you can easily begin to put into your life and you will begin to see results immediately when you take the time to say, “You know what? What is it that you are going through? What is it that you are experiencing or sometimes, you just need to ask for even some time. I’m looking at the case of people not just giving their time because some people are always giving their time and they are not getting it back. So maybe you should just ask for some time also. It is going to help.
Olu: That is true. That is true. On that note, not overbooking yourself that you don’t give extra time to be with somebody in your life. It’s part of it also.
I have the next one there is don’t be afraid to say your mind. Don’t be afraid to say your mind. This is one that I used to have issues with because I am scared that if I say my mind, it may not be taken right.
Olu: It may be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Over the years, God has really… I may say over the months actually, God has really helped me to see that you need to just say your mind. It is not the end of the world. And even if it is the end of the world and the person misinterprets it, you still need to be able to say it. Whatever is in your mind is in your mind! It helps in every relationship. It helps people… For example the fact that… One example in our own relationship is the fact that two things. You like to sleep in the dark when there is not too much light to distract you. I like it to be bright when I am sleeping.
Ade: Now, you love to sleep in the sun.
Olu: I like it not too bright but I like to have a nightlight. But even my very small night light is too much for you.
Ade: It’s too much for me.
Olu: And then we must be able to discuss that. Then, the aspect – the other aspect of you are able to do a lot with people around, you know, the buys running around, people around and you are still able to focus on – concentrate. I’m not able to do that. And it got a point I had to open up and say… Because before I used to think I am not smart enough – I am not as smart as you that is why I am not able to combine all of these together but then it had to get to a point where I said NO! It doesn’t matter even if I’m not as smart as you. I’m not trying to compete with you. I just know that when I am with a lot of people, I’m not able to concentrate and I’m not able to do a lot. So, I had to open up. It’s good to get to a point where you open up your mind and let the other person know what’s going on.
Ade: That’s right! Communicate! Communicate!! Communicate!!!
Olu: That’s true.
Ade: It’s always a foundation for good relationship. And with great wisdom and carefulness, not just being mean in communication…
Olu: Yes, Yes!
Ade…but it is good stuff.
Ade: Now, excuse the fault of others. Excuse the fault of others. The beauty of relationships is that the other person is not going to be exactly like you and we need to really learn to let people be themselves. So, that can be a problem. If we don’t let the other person be themselves, we are going to always have frustrations. Let’s just pray because I think it is very difficult but we must pray to God to help us to just let the other person be. Let’s learn to discover rather than change the other person. Yes, Yes.
Olu: Yes and the next one there is don’t shun the wisdom of others. There is a point where you just feel like I know. I know what I am doing. So, when somebody comes and they bring you a suggestion, you say, “You know what?” Now you may be smiling and saying, you like what they are saying but really you are not. You don’t like it. You are waiting for them to just zip their mouth together and leave you right now because they are wasting their time. And so it’s very important to also… Because it’s true that they may not understand you; it is true that they may not be able to express things the way you’d express it – be able to communicate it. But it is also very important that you know that other people, even though they are different from you, they also have something good to offer. It doesn’t mean that you have to take it. You can take it but you can take it. If you actually listen clearly, even children, if you listen to them, you will realize that they have some important things that they are saying. And if you just have a mindset of shutting people off, you will lose out.
Ade: you will lose out.
Olu: You’d be the one that loses out in life. So, it’s very important that you don’t close your mind to the wisdom that people have.
Ade: Yes, Thank you. The last one that is written down here is managing your mind which is tell yourself that all those noises is noise. I think that has helped me a bit. I tell myself I don’t know what you don’t tell me. I just try to tell myself. “Ah! Maybe that guy just wants to trick you”, I say, “Did he say that? He didn’t say that so I don’t know that. I’m not going to waste my energy thinking about that.” What this means is just try to think about what you are thinking about.
Olu: Exactly. Exactly!
Ade: You just try to be aware. Try to be conscious of what your mind is saying or what the enemy is saying to you or what you are scared of or what you are doubting and shut down as many of them as are not useful.
Olu: All of them. All of them.
Ade: Some can be useful but anything that is not useful- anything that is not good…
Olu: Okay, I get what you mean.
Ade: …shut them down.
Olu: You are right.
Ade: Rather, let the Holy Spirit speak instead.
Olu: That’s true. That’s true. I…
Ade: Things that are positive, things that are good, things that are building…
Oulu: That’s what it says in Philippians.
Ade: Things that make you have faith and move forward, think on those things.
Olu: That’s it. That’s it. And one of the episodes in March will focus on our thoughts and what to do about that. And I am hoping to actually get somebody – to invite somebody on the show to talk more about these. But I think that it’s a big thing. And it’s a process of growth. It’s our process of growth. This issue of guarding your heart is everywhere in the scriptures. It is very important. In short, is it Ephesians that talks about taking captive of imaginations – things that are just thoughts in your mind and seeing them as “these are deadly” and actually recognizing them as that and dealing with them in that way. It’s very important because if you are going to intentionally get the most out of a relationship, you must think the best o that relationship. And so, it is very important we work on that and make sure that whatever… As things are coming in – we get information from all our senses -as they are coming into us that just as we eat food and we digest, we take as much as we need and we throw away the rest, the same way the information that comes into our minds need to be digested as well. And whatever is a waste product, if you keep it inside, it can kill.
Olu: In the physical sense, the leftover from your body that is supposed to be excreted out, if it is kept in your body, it can kill you. The same way the mind also works. Something that needs to go, if it doesn’t go it is going to really…
Ade: …start destroying the system
Olu: Exactly. It is going to destroy the system. It will destroy the relationship. It will destroy the impact that you are supposed to be having in the world that God brought you into.
Ade: And even health
Olu: And even your health as well. You know, I shared that on my stomach ulcer issue. So, I like us to just wrap this up on this note with a word of prayer. You’re the pastor, you are my pastor. Pray for us.
Father, we thank you once again for the opportunity to share our lives and share your Word with your children. Lord, our prayer is that you’d continue to live out the true love in us and live out your purpose and your plans for us. We confess that we do make mistakes and we do fall into the flesh – the human nature but what we want is to walk always in the Spirit. So, Lord, we receive grace. We pray for everyone that is listening for special grace this week and for the rest of our lives to live like you… to love fully, to love intentionally and to love powerfully through you, in Jesus name.
Olu: Amen! Amen! Thank you so much, everyone, for listening. Thank you, Ade for joining me for this 2 sessions and I look forward to having you again soon.
Ade: It’s my pleasure.
Olu: Thank you for listening to this episode of Like Jesus Podcast. Don’t forget to head over to lusobanjo.com for more useful resources. While you are there, remember to leave me a comment. At least you know now how bad I want your approval
And if you found this on iTunes, please take 2 minutes to review it. It’d help other people like you to find the show. Alright, now it’s your turn to go impact someone with what you’ve got. Bye for now.