I love to love!
There is no better feeling...
...unless it is being loved.
Now that is a good feeling!
But it's more than that, isn't it? Love isn't really just a feeling...
The Bible say that "God IS love." (1 John 4:16)
Wow. Of all the things he could be, he chose to BE love.
Does that thought overwhelm you?
He loves me so much...Do I love him back? Does my heart really belong to Him?...or someone else...or something else?
I recently read a book by Francis Chan, aptly named Crazy Love, that really challenged me on the idea of God's relentless love for me, and my response to it. (If you haven't read Crazy Love, yet, get up and go buy it NOW. That good.) Here's just a taste...actually taken from John Piper's God Is the Gospel here...but the whole book is this thought-provoking!
The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?
Reality check. Do I L-O-V-E Christ? He demands my whole heart. In fact, He goes as far as to say, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5) Hmmmm.
And then there's the issue of my love for others. God chose to speak to us through the Bible, and in it, He speaks to us more about LOVE than any thing else...more than money, more than Heaven, more than sin... more than anything. So love must be important to Him. Must be MOST important to Him. And if love is most important to God, and I want to be like Him... well I guess I'd better make sure I am loving others, well.
So what does it mean to love well?
2 Corinthians gives us good ways to measure our love, our acts of loving, rather. Not the warm-and-fuzzy, when-others-love-me, or when-I-FEEL-like loving kind of love, but the real rubber-meets-the-road, and I-am-walking-what-I'm-talking, kind of love. Love as a VERB.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 persevers. Love never fails.
~1 Corinthians 13: 1-8
When I read those words I am so challenged.
Do I love my Rich? I know I sometimes feel like it, and I know I sometimes don't feel like it :), but regardless of how I ever feel, am I L-O-V-I-N-G him? Am I patient? Are my words kind? Am I looking to put myself first, or him? Am I loving Shaelyn Jade well? My parents, my family, my friends? God even calls me to love my enemies? Oh I need help there, Lord. Loving those who do not love me... that's a hard one...but it is important to God.
So much so that He says nothing else matters. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you LOVE one another." (John 13:35)
WOW. Love is my "stamp" of authenticity to this world.
...So I could give everthing away and live among the poor... I could preach all day long about Jesus to multitudes of people... I could tell the whole world I am a Christian with my mouth, I could speak in tongues, perform miracles of faith, give prophetic words... I could even DIE for the gospel of Jesus Christ... BUT if I do not love, all of those actions would mean nothing,be no gain. Or I could simply love--- and without doing anything else, the world will know who I belong to.
God IS love. If He is in me, I must BE love, too.
So here's to the month of love. It is my prayer that I will be mindful, during these few short weeks, of my simple but highest calling to LOVE.
P.S. I love you, friends! :)