Monday, May 15, 2017

Learning to Love Like Jesus

Recently I heard someone say that if they could ask God for any one thing they would ask for a heart that always obeyed the Lord. Although there wasn't anything "wrong" with his answer, I want more than just a relationship built on rules & obedience. I want my obedience to stem from my love for & relationship with Him. Love is the highest goal. It is also the foundation. The motivation...of everything we do. The only thing that matters. A couple of years ago after having this realization stir in my soul, I began praying that above all else He would teach me to love like He does.

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing." -1 Corinthians 13:1-3

"All that matters is faith, expressed through love." -Galatians 5:6

The longer I walk this path, the harder it becomes at times. Especially when the hurt comes from someone you assumed would be...should be...on the same side as you.

It's so easy to love those who love you. But there is no growth in that...nothing learned.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them." -Luke 6:32

But to love those who ignore you? To love those who dislike you? To love those who gossip about you & slander you to others? To love those who don't want anything to do with you? To those who just tolerate you? To those who take you for granted? To those who oppose you? To those who seem to intentionally resist your efforts at every turn? To those who continually hurt your feelings? To those who choose others over choosing you? Who assume the worst about you? And on & on it goes. There are so many other possible scenarios.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." -1 Corinthians 13:4-7

So instead of getting my feelings hurt & giving in to the temptation to retaliate, sulk, or nurse my emotional wounds, I must allow Him to love them through me...regardless of their motives (which are unbeknownst to me), & remember that:

1. They are not my enemies. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." -Ephesians 6:12

2. To bless them & continue to pray for them regardless of their behavior. "Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." -Luke 6:28

Easier said than done for sure.

But another thing I know and am sure of...

"Love never fails." -1 Corinthians 13:8