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It is important to learn how to love your family with the love of God. This can be a challenge, because many of us have at least one or two relatives who irritate us to no end. However, God requires us to love everyone—including those not-so-easy-to-get-along-with family members.

The problem is, most of us don't know how to show the love of God to them. And if you've never really been taught about true biblical love, you'll fail the love test every time.

Loving people where they are spiritually, mentally and emotionally is vitally important to any relationship. Yes, it's good to set high expectations, but they can't be so far into the stratosphere that no one can meet them.

The only thing you'll be doing is fostering feelings of inadequacy in those you're trying to love. The love of God challenges those around you, but at the same time recognizes their limitations and stays committed to them anyway.

As human beings, we are extremely limited in what we can do, think or believe. However, God accepts us as we are and still chooses to stand by us and shower us with His blessings daily. True love doesn't give up on people just because they are irritating or because they make mistakes.

Love Is Willing To Change
My wife told me once, "Don't you dare tell God how much you love Him if you are not willing to change."

This holds very true in all of our relationships, but especially in our families. Change is the evidence of love. In essence it says, "I'm willing to change whatever I need to change so I can line up with what God wants me to be."

One of the things that caused me to fall in love with my wife was her willingness to change. She was more willing than I was to become a better person. After awhile I had to recognize the fact that I couldn't tell her I loved her and still keep my old attitude by saying, "That's just how I am. Take me as I am, or go find somebody else."

That is not the kind of attitude love portrays. That's just a demonstration of our immaturity and inability to love as God loves.

You may be thinking, Well, I'm not changing until so-and-so changes. That's the wrong attitude to take! Change must be sown before it can be harvested. You can't point your finger and say," As soon as you quit acting like that, I'll change."

The truth is, as soon as we quit acting like that and set our hearts and minds to change our thinking and behavior, the other person will change. It's a kingdom principle: If you sow change, you'll reap change.

We Have To Change for God
The same principle applies to our relationship with God. We have to make adjustments in our lives because of our love for Him; and because of our willingness to change, He helps us and gives us everything we need for successful Christian living.

Before coming to Christ, most of us were involved in all kinds of ungodly activities. We were full of sin, pride and rebellion. We allowed our flesh to lead our lives. However, in spite of all of that, God reached down, touched our hearts and opened our eyes to a whole new level of living.

For the first time in our lives, we understood the awesome love and compassion of God. But we could not continue to say we loved Him without evidence of that love. We knew we had to be obedient to His Word and put that love into action by changing our ways of thinking and doing. That's how we demonstrate love to God, by combining actions with our words.

God Makes Adjustments for Us
God is willing to adjust His plans and methods of operation in order to make a way for us. For example, even after Adam and Eve disobeyed His command not to eat from a certain tree in the Garden of Eden, God still made a way for their sin to be atoned for. He created a system whereby the blood of sheep, goats and other animals could cover the sin of man once a year, until the final sacrifice—Jesus—came to earth.

"But, Brother Dollar! Doesn't the Bible say that God never changes?" Yes! Malachi 3:6 says, "I am the Lord, I change not." God does not change. His Word endures forever. However, God may postpone His original plans for a time in order to bring us back into the center of His will.

Follow God's Example
If God is willing to make adjustments for us, how much more should we be willing to change and conform to His Word? When I was a baby Christian, there were many times I thought, I can't help how I am. It's too late for me to change!

However, this is not the case. Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." And Paul stated in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

The time for excuses has come to an end. If you have made a quality decision to live according to the Word of God, now is the time to make whatever adjustments are necessary in your life. But let's flip the coin for the sake of adding balance.

What will happen to you if you don't change? Psalm 55:19 says, "God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old, because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God."

What is the fear of God? To be willing to align ourselves with His Word, no matter the cost. To fear God is to obey Him; and according to John 14:15, we can't say we love Him if we don't obey His commands.

Love Is Not Rude
Love is not rude (1 Cor. 13:5 AMP). Love is not unmannerly. This principle certainly applies to our households. We can't be rude to our family members and then come to church and pretend to be as sweet as can be. Rather than shouting orders at your kids or nagging your spouse about bills or chores, try asking them politely. Watch your tone of voice. A smile and a "please" or "thank you" go a long way toward maintaining peace.

Love Is Not Selfish
First Corinthians 13:5 (AMP) says, Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking. Love is never selfish. It sets its own desires to the side for the benefit of another. Love is more concerned with how you can meet the needs of another than how you would like your needs to be met.

Love Is Not Easily Provoked
When we take our eyes off our own agendas and desires in order to serve our families, it prevents us from becoming easily angered. First Corinthians 13:5 says, "[Love] is not easily provoked... [love] thinketh no evil."

In other words, love is not quick to take offense. It doesn't keep scorecards of hurts and offenses.

I can identify with the way that The Amplified Bible explains 1 Corinthians 13:5: "[Love] is not touchy or fretful. There are times when I am tired and irritable and I don't want anybody to talk to me. However, if I want to obey God's Word, I have to get past that irritability and bite my tongue until I've had a good night's sleep."

That same verse continues by saying that love is not resentful. Too many of us carry resentment around with us like a piece of luggage. The only thing this does is grow into anger, rage and bitterness, and it hinders God's blessings from manifesting in our lives.

A Loveless Home Equals a Loveless Society
A lack of love in the home always leads to a loveless society. Why? Because society is a mirror image of what's going on at home. It's the law of seed-time and harvest.

For example, if you sow seeds of love into a child, you will reap a harvest of the same. That child will grow up happy, well adjusted and well equipped to handle the world around him.

However, if seeds of anger, scorn, bitterness and hurt are sown, nine times out of 10, that child will go out into the world looking for what was missing in his family.

We shouldn't be surprised when some young man joins a gang or some young girl finds an older man to sleep with. They are trying to fulfill the emptiness inside of them with outside influences—people who accept them as they are and remain committed to them no matter what.

They are the products of loveless homes. Society is simply a reflection of a need for love that is not being met.

Love Disciplines
Real love disciplines and trains. And these are not things you do once in a lifetime. They're continuous. Parents should not be surprised when their children act up and misbehave. If children could make quality decisions on their own, they wouldn't need parents to train them!

Now, in my house, we don't have a democracy. I run my house God's way. Taffi and I train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). We don't ask our relatives to vote on what we do in our house. And that includes my children.

When I was a child, I never could understand why Mama or Daddy said, "We discipline you because we love you." However, as I grew older, I remembered what they said. It was their love for me that prevented me from doing things I would later regret.

I thought about that love at home, and it restrained me. That's the God kind of love. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him promptly."

The parents who love their children don't wait until they get old before they chasten them. Instead, they diligently discipline them from an early age. Discipline is evidence of your love for your children. You don't really love your children if you don't take the time to correct them.

Today parents get offended when you try to talk to them about their children. They don't want to discipline them, but neither do they want you to do it. I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone was allowed to correct me.

My mother's neighbors used to brag about that. One time a lady who lived down the street from us paddled me. She paddled me and then called my mom to say, "I just whipped your son." Unbelievably, my mom said, "Thank you. Send him down here, so I can whip him again!"

Love Has Manners
My sisters and I were often punished if we failed to practice good manners. We weren't sassy. We were taught to say, "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," "Yes, sir," "No, sir," "Thank you" and "Please." Now when my own children bring their friends over to play, I tell them, "Let them know that if they can't learn manners, they don't come into the house." That's training!

Your Children Are That Way Because of You
Most children rebel because they want to get their parents' attention. They deliberately get in trouble in order to get you to notice them. Whether you believe it or not, children want to be disciplined. They want to know that there are certain boundaries they can't cross. It assures them of your love for them.

Children who rebel are the very same children who rarely hear their parents tell them, "I love you." Children desire to be loved and appreciated. They want their problems to be just as important as an adult's. Instead of being shoved to the side, they want to hear their parents say something like, "Wow, is that what happened today?" or "That's a mighty fine smiley face on your homework, son!"

When your children give you a drawing that looks like a blob of color, you should say, "You made this for me? Oh, give me a hug. I'll put this on my desk so I can look at it every day." Taffi is always telling me that our children are the way they are because of us. They are little mirror images of Taffi and Creflo Dollar, not Joe Christian down the street.

In them we see every good and bad aspect of ourselves. But we have confidence that they are influenced by us and our love for them. We're not allowing their fragile, innocent minds to be shaped and molded by someone else. Instead, we're doing as God instructed by training them up in the way they should go.

Pray for Your Children
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

There are forces from the pit of hell that want to destroy our children. However, God does not want us to live in fear, wondering what will happen to them every second of their lives. Instead of giving in to the fear the enemy strives to plant in our minds, we must seize every opportunity we have to pray for our children.

Because of the world we live in and its constantly deteriorating state, we cannot afford to be traditional in prayer. Desperate times call for desperate action. That means speaking the promises of God over your life and the lives of your children daily. Here are some promises you can declare over your children every day.
And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
(Isaiah 54:13)

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
(Heb. 1:14)
The Greek word for salvation, is soteria, which means "rescue or safety; deliverance, health, salvation." In other words, this verse tells us that angels have been sent forth to minister to us, because we are heirs of God's promises of protection, safety and preservation.

God has sent angels to minister to and serve us and our children. That's their job. It's vital that parents plead the blood of Jesus over their children every morning and release the angels of God to carry them safely wherever they need to go.

This paralyzes the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy our families. Praying for their protection is one way to express godly love for your family.

Now is the time to evaluate your life and pay close attention to areas that may be lacking. You may have allowed daily prayer and confession to fall by the wayside. Or you may have forgotten how to express love to the members of your family.

Whatever the case may be, it's up to you to correct the situation. Don't let another day go by without showing God's love to your family. Allow Him to direct your path so that your home can be filled to the brim with God's peace and abundance.

Source: Lord, Teach Me How to Love by Dr. Creflo A. Dollar, Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Creflo A. Dollar
Web site: World Changers Church International
Creflo Dollar is a founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI). He's a world-renowned Bible teacher, sought-after conference speaker, and bestselling author with hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs in distribution worldwide. Recognized for his cutting-edge revelation and humorous, pragmatic approach, he enables thousands to experience grace, restoration, healing, and financial breakthrough by applying simple, biblical principles to their lives. He is the author of such game-changing books as "The Radical Life of Grace" and "Why I Hate Religion", and his award-winning Changing Your World television broadcast reaches nearly 1 billion homes. His ministry includes an app available on mobile devices and smart TV's, a dedicated YouTube channel, and the Changing Your World Network, a 24-hour online channel. A thriving social media presence has allowed him to connect with World Changers worldwide.

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