Thursday, February 16, 2012

Love is...

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Why are we not loving like this?
I recently listened to a sermon from Andy Stanley about love. (It was actually focused on sex and dating, but the passage he used was "the love chapter" in 1 Corinthians 13 so I think it applies nicely). He inspired me to take a look at what love is supposed to be. It says:
{4-8a} Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  

Love is something that everyone is talking about, but very few really know what it means or practice it in its true sense. 
If you really think about it, do we practice these attributes all the time? You can't just pick and choose which ones you are going to show to people on a given day. The verse doesn't say "Love is patient sometimes, Love is kind every once in a while. It only envies when it is really necessary, it only boasts of the really good things, only shows pride in certain situations. Love rarely delights in evil, and sometimes rejoices in the truth when it suits it. It does not dishonor certain people, it is only partially self-seeking, it has anger issues, and may forgive but never forgets. It usually protects, usually trusts, usually hopes, usually perseveres. Love rarely fails." 

While that is huge on its own, the verses before it hold the power behind love. While verses 4-8 show us how to love, verses 1-3 tell us why we should love. These verses are really the ones that kick me in the butt and remind me that I am not even close to as awesome as I thought I was the second before!
{1-3} If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

No one is going to care if you can do all these cool things or how spiritual you are unless they know that you love them. There is a common saying that says "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." 

Do the people around you know that you care about them? Do you really care about them the way God cares for us in the first place?

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