I have been assaulted by Love today. Not usually the verb I associate with Love…assault. However, it is exactly that…an assault of various kinds on the topic, definition, and idea of Love.
My first encounter was in my morning devotion. The verses I was taken to included 1Corinthians13, which is all about love and what it is…patient, kind, forgiving, it does not envy or boast, etc. It is an encouragement from the Apostle Paul to examine ourselves and see if we are loving like Jesus, and he implores us to get right if we find ourselves lacking. I do okay most of the time, but I can not tell you that I display love ALL the time.
Secondly, on the radio on my way to my morning work-out, the lyrics of a song describe the verse that states, “if I have the faith to move a mountain and have not love, I am nothing. If I speak all the right words but have not love, I am nothing more than a clanging cymbal.” Wow. Okay, I get it. Do nothing without love or what I do is nothing.
Thirdly, while I was preparing for a Bible lesson I will teach later, I was taken to multiple verses about what Jesus really wants. He wants our love and obedience, knowing that we will never be perfect but that we must be “all-in” in our lives for Him. No lukewarmness, no half-hearted tokens of gratitude, no left-over sacrifices of time or money. He asks us for our hearts…our love beyond ourselves. And if I am perfectly honest, sometimes my own agenda gets in the way and I remember hours after waking that I haven’t even said ‘Good Morning’ to my Creator King! That certainly doesn’t show much love, does it?
And lastly, I have been consumed with a phrase that I heard in my Wednesday morning Bible Study. The leader was describing her mother-in-law and how, when a conflict in the family arose, this sweet woman could be heard muttering, “love, love, love” under her breath. This mantra has become my prayer and my guiding light, for what can’t be solved with more love and less of everything else (like pride and the desire to be right?)
But what does love really look like in my life? It means putting my self aside and thinking of others. Not only in acts of service (like making dinner or washing laundry) but in things like noticing that my son is grumpy and not pushing when he obviously doesn’t want to talk. It’s like seeing how tired my husband is at the end of the day and not bringing up something that can wait. It’s noticing that my future daughter-in-law needs to talk. It’s trusting God in my obedience and carrying on what He asked me to do, regardless of my feelings.
Love is sacrificial. Love is selfless. Love is what Jesus did on the cross. He gave everything, absolutely everything of Himself so that I could have what I needed, which is forgiveness and salvation. How can I offer Him any less? How can I not pick up the cross of my own life and walk where He asks me to walk, do what He asks me to do, love who He asks me to love?
We love our family, we love our pets, we love our selves. This is good, but kind of self-serving, as all those things love us back. It’s time to love others…the beggar on the corner, the unkind clerk at the supermarket, the rude driver who cut you off on the freeway, the snarky ticket agent. Real love, true love, honest love, Jesus love. Love, Love, Love. It won’t make the homeless less homeless. It won’t make the unkind clerk kind, or the rude driver less rude. But it will please God, and when you get down to the crux of it, isn’t that the whole point of this time spent on earth?