True Love

Love is in the air with Holiday’s rapidly approaching!  Everyone is more giving and more thoughtful. They are also more stressed and rushed and panicked to get everything right before the jolly man in the red suit shows up. Grab those roses, gifts that come in small boxes, and reservations for those sold out restaurants.  But before getting swept up in the emotions of the season I wonder if we can touch on this topic of love.

If you are married you probably think you have a grasp on this… or at least you do a pretty good job at it.  Sure, we can make our spouses feel loved, appreciated, important, valued and choose to be a servant leader in the relationship.  We can prove our commitment and dedication by being a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual partner – sharing in the natural ups and downs of life and being a source of strength.  While this is extremely important and should be your highest prioritized relationship after Christ, I wonder if we adopt this same effort and attitude towards those around us – friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers – in our daily life?

1 Corinthians 13 is an in-depth picture of what true love is.  When Jesus came, he did away with the old law way of thinking that said spiritual maturity could be measured by your love for God – which is a mystery to others and can only be observed by one’s actions.  As a New Testament church, Jesus declared that your love for God is important but there is another “law”, joined with the first, that will truly demonstrate your love for God and that is how you love one another(Matthew 22:36-40).  Well dang it… now I cannot hide behind my religious language, loopholes, and good deeds.  Now others can clearly assess my relationship with God BY HOW I TREAT THOSE AROUND ME.  That’s scary, that’s real… and that’s unfiltered.

Maybe it’s time for a love check… if I were to interview 100 people who range from your closest friend to the lady who checks you out at Publix once a week… how would they rate you given their interaction and observance of your actions?  If any of those answers came back less than desirable it would arguably have a direct correlation to your current walk with Christ.  Let’s not inflate ourselves with religion and get absorbed in the Christian bubble because we read our Bible in the morning, give a tithe, and listen to biblical podcasts and David Crowder Band on the way to work.  The true test is in your love for others.  That’s true love. We need to remember that we don’t need to shout at the wind and the waves, and command from others. That’s God’s job. We need to fix our eye’s on Jesus. When we do that, we love at our absolute best.  

I’ll close with The Message version of 1 Corinthians 13… be encouraged and be a light!

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.”

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