Let me just start by adding here a disclaimer. I do not claim in any shape nor form to have conquered my own insecurities, pains, failures etc to be perfect in love. What I do have is the power of Christ working in me to bring about His will and pleasure in my life. He is wisdom and Love and is working these things out in my life as I become more like Him. Do I get in the way? Often! My old man rises up and I struggle, but this does not deny the truth that we can walk in this type of love and should never stop aspiring to live in that place of Love that casts out fear.
So here goes.
What is love?
We say we love food, dogs, cats, children, grandchildren, the weather, our jobs, our cars, our new hair-do, our families, our spouse, our new lounge, our new makeup, our God, our country, or our new phone. Love or that feeling of love can be assigned to the most important things in our lives and to the most mundane, side by side and in no particular order. Usually what is top of mind and bringing US the most happiness at that precise moment in time is what equates with love.
LOVE defined in the dictionary is – a strong positive emotion of regard and affection and devotion; A deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction; A score of zero in tennis or squash.
I know the last one doesn’t relate to my discourse here but sometimes love can be a zero in terms of relationships so guess it does fit!
The world describes love as an emotion, a feeling, while the Bible describes love in terms of 1 Corinthians 13 as an action.
Love should be the measure stick for our lives.
First let me start with defining love according to Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3
If I can speak with tongues of man and even of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as inspired by God’s love for and in us, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose, and understand all mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing – a useless nobody.
Even if I dole out all that I have (to the poor) in providing food and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory but have not God’s love in me, I gain nothing.
Wow! I don’t know about you but if I look at what is important to people in life most would be amazed if they could prophesy the divine will and purpose of God, If they could move mountains in faith or provide food for the hungry or in fact give our lives for any noble cause, yet here it is saying that none of that matters if we don’t have love.
Ok. I don’t know about you but that to me is a tall order in terms of what appears to be successful living, Christian or otherwise, to have all knowledge etc. how powerful is that? Love changes the perspective from how the world perceives success to how God does.
According Galatians the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience or long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
God is more interested in our being, our character, not our doing or achievements.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I am nothing. I gain nothing. I am a useless nobody. I am a sounding cymbal, sharp and annoying if I don’t have love.
This love is not the same love as for my dog or cat or even child. This love is AGAPE an amazing form of Love from God. A God given, inspired love that never fails.
Agape is – Affection or benevolence, feast of charity, dear, love, plural – is love feasts.
I will tire of my new phone, lounge, lover but this love supersedes these emotions. They are not just a feeling, they are a commitment: An act of devotion.
2 Thessalonians says that God is wholly love. His nature is summed up in love. He is Love so when we are trying to walk in Love we need His help and His love permeating us. We have to put off the old man and let Him shine through.
So what is love?
Let’s start with patient – something most of us are not.
Think you are? What happens when we have to wait in long lines – or when our power goes off and we have to wait a full day or week for it to come back on? What about when the airlines have a delay or the traffic lights take that little bit too long? Or the person in front is distracted and misses the green light!! Doesn’t the patience disappear when that happens? How do I know? The horns start. The finger motions increase, especially when someone cuts us off. It also turns quite blue in some cabins as people drive along. Patience!
I am not trying to condemn just challenge us all. Whenever anything interferes with our time or situation how we react is evident – really fast.
Please assign thankfulness in events notwithstanding time – my well thought out anagram!
The Bible says, “Tribulation works patience.” You don’t know how much you are not patient until you face a situation that takes or interrupts your time; or just annoys us!
My husband is a very patient man. I have seen others who are not. One man in particular comes to mind who having trouble with his motor bike took to it with a hammer! Paul shook his head and said to him, “Now you have more to fix.” Lack of patience and the ensuing reactive behaviour will undoubtedly require a greater effort to remedy! So best to start practicing now in the smaller instances of life!
So what does walking in love – being patient look like on a daily basis?
I Thessalonians 5:13-14 Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
When your 3 year old or husband whichever, asks you for what seems like the 1000th time where something is or why? Take a deep breath. Reply as patiently as you can and as slowly as you can, keeping the tone low and sweet.
When you are forced to wait in the check-out line and it closes, one person down from you, smile and be thankful. The delay may have some other greater reason than just trying to tick you off!
Be thankful! Take off complaining about the car that cut you off. Pray protection for them – they need it! Take off to put on. Now being reasonable here, sometimes the emotion outweighs the brain and we don’t have time to analyse the “what should I do”. That is where we need help. Pray and start with the small things to build the habit into our being.
I haven’t even touched on major issues that require patience. When the doctors report comes back negative, and tests prove serious. How do you remain patient in those situations? It takes prayer and effort. We have to start with the little situations to form a habit of thankfulness in every situation. We have to come to that place where we realize that not all things are good but to those who love God and are called according to His purposes, ALL things work together for good!
So today let’s start with the small tests of patience with our spouse, our neighbours, the dog, the cat, the machine playing up, driving, so that when we do face the life and death issues we have such an ingrained reactive process, thankfulness for the delay, the trial, the episode, will be instinctive and patience will prevail. If you fail and loose it – apologize, ask for help from Holy Spirit and get up and keep going! Be patient with yourself.
Please assign thankfulness in events notwithstanding time – too long I know but you get the drift!
Until next time put Love in to practice