Read His Words Before Ours!
“I LOVE Chipotle!”
“I LOVE this nail polish!”
“I LOVE that outfit!”
Love is a word we use to describe admiration for something.
It begs the question, what is love?
As believers, we refer to 1 Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter”, to define love and how it’s fleshed out in everyday life. We’ve spent the past 3 weeks diving into each of these descriptions in this chapter and walked away with some incredible truths, but we are coming up on the benediction.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
Loves bears, meaning to carry or support.
Love believes, means to accept something as true.
Love hopes, reflects the desire for something to happen.
Love endures, which is the most challenging one, means to suffer patiently.
All of these words are verbs, suggesting that love is an action not a feeling;
at its core, love is a choice.
Have you ever heard….
“we fell out of love” or
“I don’t feel the love I use to feel” or
“I just don’t love him anymore”?
The reality is that true love in its best form is
exquisitely costly, and
downright impossible for us to live out in real life.
Impossible, that is, without Christ and His love flowing through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What does Christ’s love look like?
Let’s start with Jonah 3:8-10.
“but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God.
Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way,
God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.”
The prophet Jonah was asked to go to the ISIS of his time, the Ninevites. Jonah was tasked to call these people, cold-hearted, brutal killers, to repentance away from sin and towards God. Jonah was not happy, understandably so, and he ran in the opposite direction.
But God followed him with a storm and even a “big fish” that swallowed Jonah whole in effort to get his attention. In the fish’s belly, Jonah decided reluctantly to be obedient..
He went to Ninevah, preached as God asked, and to his surprise (and frustration), the people repented.
In this story God is lovingly hopeful.
Hopeful, because He wants the people He created to know Him and have relationship with Him. He was so hopeful He continued to push until the opportunity was brought to those people.
Another example is 1 Peter 5:6-11.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Peter says we are free to cast all our worries or anxieties on our Lord, who is present to constantly bear us up in love. Even though suffering and enemy attacks will come, in the end, Christ will restore us and strengthen us.
This is a beautiful picture of bearing with us!
The creator of everything loves us enough to bear each of our individual burdens. He supports and also carries us through this life and into eternity!
Forgiveness? Its thread can be found on every page of Scripture, but the most powerful one is found in Luke 23:34:
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
While nailed to the cross, after being beaten, mocked, and abused,
Jesus asks for forgiveness on behalf of His murderers.
In His cries for forgiveness, He believes they do not understand the depths of their actions.
How powerful is the love of Christ!
I have experienced Christ’s sweet love for myself; it has changed me and how I love others. Christ has born up the hardest things I have had to carry.
He has hoped things for me I couldn’t see.
He has believed beautiful things about me I am still learning to trust.
But, sweetest of all, Christ has endured me.
As a mother, I can only imagine part of the pain He has felt as He has endured with me.
He has endured me hating Him.
He has endured my turning from Him.
He has endured me trying to kill myself.
He has endured me living a lie.
He has suffered patiently, waiting for me to open my heart back up to Him.
He lovingly endured my walking away to demonstrate the vastness of His love that has always stayed beside me.
This Jesus love is the very best thing that has ever happened to me.
It is the most addictive, sweet, precious thing I’ve ever tasted.
His love has not only brought me into beautiful grace,
but also daily challenges me to love others with this love.
As I reflect on Jesus love showing up with kaleidoscope colors in my everyday life, I wonder….
Does my love bear the hardest things with people?
Does my love hope the craziest things with people?
Does my love believe on behalf of others?
Does my love endure with the goal of Christ at its end?
Where I lack, I am called deeper into the well of love He offers
in order that His sweet nectar may flow through me.
I will choose expensive, lavish, enduring love!
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!