Friday, February 15, 2013

True Love

What a beautiful holiday that we designate to celebrate love. The past few days, I have been thinking about love and all of the dynamics that go along with the four letter word. After a morning of ministry in the slums of the Philippines I came home to read some beautiful words from my Valentine. I'll embarrassingly admit that I was in the middle of a journal entry which began to record the events of the day and this sweet moment from my valentine when I detoured to pour out my thoughts on love and the true love that is found only in the most amazing lover - my Lord Jesus Christ. Before I share my journal thoughts I do want to say what a beautiful experience it is to be in a relationship with someone who loves the Lord and desires to lead us in a life of righteousness. It is only because of his love for the Lord that he is able to treat me like the Lord intended all women to be treated - like true princesses. Ladies - never accept anything less.

Okay so thoughts on love. Something that has really been on my mind and heart the past few days is the notion of love which stands as the greatest commandment. I realized that at times I run from love or pick and choose those who I feel deserve my love (or at least I know that's what my actions show). I kept thinking about a conversation I had with a local about choosing my next step in life and wanting to be career minded when she interrupted me and told me in broken English "relationship is always better." Doh - ouch. It's a truth I know but am scared to submit to. I'm like that with everything though. On a wider scheme I'm one who prefers a clear task to accomplish, a capable end goal in sight, and a predictable schedule so I can be ready and in complete control of everything. Yet this is contrary to the greatest commandment - where God calls and demands that we first and foremost, love. He calls us to relationship even if that means allowing vulnerability, facing rejection, and being unprepared because you don't know what lies ahead. So then that made me think - the greatest commandment is not just for the receiver but also for the sender. Love can be such a scary and unpredictable thing that sometimes we're forced to rely on Him to do it. Take it a step further and think about those who are difficult to love, those who have abused your love, those whose love you have lost. For me and for many Christians, sometimes its those who may not be what we stereotype as "needy" who are harder to love. We are eager to serve orphans in Africa while we turn our noses to the ghettos in our very backyard. We are quick to make relationships on a one week mission trip but get stuck in our Bible studies and Christian concerts back home and never go OUT of the Christian bubble. We quickly judge those who are materially rich but overlook the fact that they are completely spiritually impoverished (this could be a whole other entry for me so I'll just keep it at that for now). (disclaimer: I'm all for small groups and Christian fellowship, but I do think we need to evaluate the distribution of our time).

Okay back to love -

Sometimes, our society makes love seem like it's such an easy and simple thing. "I'm a lover not a fighter," "Peace and Love," "My love don't cost a thing" (Had to throw that last one in there) - BUT the truth is, love isn't simple and it surely isn't easy, and if it were then it wouldn't be real love!

But I have Good News. I just so happen to be in love with the Creator of Love. Yup, it's true. And He is the most Divine Lover who has given to me a love deeper than human affection or roller-coaster feelings. It's a love that brings life in abundance, peace in all circumstances, and joy even in suffering. It's only through this love that I can love at all, and I fail at that all the time as a broken human being. But I do hope and pray that in all my relationships there will be a continual submission to Gods love so that we can let go of the lies of the world; which tell us that love is mushy-gushy feelings, physical passion, strong attraction, or even common hobbies. If you notice, the similar trend of all those things is that they all change and can all be lost. (No wonder 50% of marriages end in divorce!) In contrast, when we see love as God intended it to be - as a holy commandment that requires deep commitment, genuine loyalty, humble sacrifice, and a servants attitude then we see how the Lord wants to use love and relationship as a way to grow us more into His image. In that case, love to God, to self, and to others is far from easy, but its a long-term process that requires one to daily die to self for the sake of the Lord and for others. Love then becomes not about self-gain or fleeting feelings, but about sacrifice and submission - like the greatest act of love found when Jesus took on the sins of man and died an excruciating death, being crucified on the cross and resurrected three days later so that we may be reconciled to God. Phew - How much more beautiful is this love then the love prescribed to us by man?

Father, I pray that You will plant within us a desire to love the way You crafted us to love. I pray that others will feel Your holy love poured out from those who know You so that they can get a taste of true love and hunger for more. Lord, I ask that You will use the commandment to love as a way of instilling in us the sacrifice, servitude, and commitment that it requires in relationship and within the path of righteousness. Only You, our Great Teacher, can teach us how to love others, ourselves, and You. Break down the box that we've placed love in and restore our understanding of what love truly is and what it looks like on a daily and long-term basis. Thank You for a love so deep that human words can't describe it and that my head can't even wrap around, a love that brings us to our knees in wonderful disbelief. You are my one true love and I will celebrate this today and everyday. I pray all these things in the name of my Dearly Beloved. Amen.

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