Read His Words Before Ours!
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
I think it’s safe to say that these verses are arguably some of the most well-known Scriptures in the Bible. Individuals who do not even believe in our God have committed some or all of those verses to memory. As a result, many of us may flit right through the familiar passage without allowing the Truth to sink into our hearts and minds. (Raising my hand here.)
That being said, would it be okay with you if we stop for a just a moment to go over those words together again? I’m challenging us to read the passage out loud, but this time, let’s each insert our own name every time the word “love” appears. (Merry is patient, Merry is kind. Merry does not envy…etc.)
Just between us…did you try to justify yourself?
Maybe for you, that went like…
I mean, I’m mostly patient.
I rarely envy others.
I don’t keep a record of wrongs…when I receive the apology they owed me.
I don’t boast. There’s nothing wrong with feeling proud of your work.
I’m not irritable. I’m just tired of feeling like no one listens to me.
I’m not self-seeking. I deserve this. I’ve been taking the back seat long enough.
I still love _____________. I just don’t like him/her.
We are all in that boat, Sister.
We are each absolutely incapable of that kind of love.
Truth? We cannot even fathom a love like that. Sometimes we forget that. We think we can love others through our own might or our own resolutions…then wonder why we fail miserably and relationships become even more broken than they were before we tried.
But then, He knows that, because He is love.
Perfect, flawless, abiding Love.
And He always has been.
Someone close to me once said, “I love Jesus, I really do. I believe that He is the Son of God and that He is my Savior. It’s God that I have a problem with. Look at the Old Testament. Look at all the times He allowed entire cities to be wiped out. Look at all the times He is angry and wrathful. How am I supposed to run to someone like that?”
If we’re honest, most of us have probably wrestled with reconciling the seemingly conflicting portrayal of God’s love in different spaces in the Bible at one point or another.
What my friend didn’t understand is that God has always been pursuing us.
Since the beginning of Creation, He has been in determined, intentional, passionate pursuit of us. Read His words about His people…about us. About you, Sister. I dare you to read this and not be overcome by His great love for you.
(Scripture is linked, these are my paraphrases.)
Come to Me, pour out everything in your heart. Be broken before Me, for I am gracious and compassionate. (Joel 2:12)
I will speak to her tenderly. I’ll persuade her to come with Me to a quiet place. I will erase the memory of every other idol, every other lover from her mind. I will take their names from her lips and I will seal her as mine forever, in all righteousness, justice, love and compassion. And I will make Myself known to her. (Hosea 2:14-20)
I’ve always loved you. I brought you out of slavery, out of shackles. I taught you to walk. I held your hand and kept you steady when you couldn’t stand on your own. I led you in love, never fear or condemnation. I gently healed you, like one who eases the painful bit from a worn and weary horse’s mouth. How could I give you up? How could I ever surrender you to another? (Hosea 11:1-8)
Can you read those words without weeping?
Read the Scriptures and know in your deepest parts that they are for you, Sister.
The God of the Old and New Testament feels those things for you.
Corporately for all of His people? YES!
Personally for you and me? YES!
Not because of you, or anything you can give Him or do for Him, but
because of Who He Is.
Sisters, we are so broken.
No amount of self-justification, legalism, desire, intention or trying
will ever set things right within us.
Part of that brokenness means that we are unable to comprehend the shift that happened when sin entered the world. We struggle to grasp that Jesus was not God’s knee-jerk reaction to our sin in order to rescue us.
His plan was always ever Jesus.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament.
His righteous anger, His perfect justice, His passionate pursuit of us, His fullness embodied in Jesus Christ sent to defeat death, wake us to life, then returned to glory that He might send His own Spirit to be that love to us and in us and through us!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!