I started my study of love today…and have no idea of where to even start. I’ve got nothing. Writer’s block already and it’s only day 4…sigh.
Why was love listed first? Love is hard and the most complicated. But it’s the most important because without it, nothing else matters. Without the great love of the Father and Jesus’s sacrifice we wouldn’t even know true love.
I spent the day reading about the great love that God has for us and we are to have for others…here are just a couple of examples…
Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.
Makes sense…I don’t necessarily ‘hate’ anyone…and have experienced first hand how a loving attitude can cover up a multitude of issues.
Leviticus 19:18 – ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Again, I get it…revenge is yours. Resentment is detrimental to peace. Love your neighbor…gets a little challenging at times. Who is my neighbor? Everyone I come in contact with in my day to day dealings. Some days are easier than others that’s for sure.
1 John 4:19-20 – We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
Well, now I’m a liar. Again, it’s not like I ‘hate’ anyone but there are certainly people I don’t like very much. AND, there are people who irritate me to no end…
Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Okay, now I’m a doormat…at least that’s how I feel at times when reading this verse. Instead of holding you responsible for your behavior I’m just supposed to bear with you? I don’t even know how to do that or if I even agree with it.
John 15:12-13 – My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
So yeah…God sacrificed his son and Jesus died for us. I do not love others with that degree of love…not even close.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor 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.
The love chapter…always a favorite at weddings…the love standard. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is a tall order…impossible really. Maybe for an hour or even a day with a select few…but not always. And certainly not with those outside of my circle.
That’s where I landed this afternoon. This love stuff…this agape love is impossible.
And that is the crux of my decision for my life verse. What the heck is a life verse? Another tidbit I learned from Bill Hybels in his book Simplify. It’s a verse that you live by…that reminds you of why you do what you do. Keeps you focused.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
True agape love is fruit of the Spirit. No other way around it. I cannot love others the way God loves me under my own power. Period.
The fruit of the Spirit is:
- The supernatural outcome of being filled with the Spirit.
- Evidence that the Spirit of God dwells in us.
- Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
- Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
- Of or relating to God.
No part of that supernatural definition says:
- Result of trying real hard
- Result of reading a lot of self help books
- Result of natural temperament
Furthermore, transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Transformation – different than before – my struggles today will not always be my struggles if I abide in Him.