I grew up feasting on the mindset expressed by societal-love-teachers like Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?” Da da da da da. Oooh oooh oooh yeah. (Anyone?)
Sadly, all of that supposed love talk was a load of lies. Lies that I devoured thinking that they would fill me.
flickr photo credit
(Isn’t this picture classic?
Devouring something that can never fill…but tastes really good.)
I want to love. I want to shine Jesus and love all the people He places in my life. But let’s be honest. Some people are easier to love than others. Some people tell us exactly what we want to hear and feed our proud egos. They pet us and praise us and make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. We like loving them.
Others aren’t so huggable. They point out our flaws and question our motives. They won’t stay in the box we’ve mentally created for them. So our face snarls a little at the thought of giving them more of ourselves.
But I’m learning something about love — something that Ms. Jackson didn’t tell us. God uses the difficult relationships to teach us true love. True love. Jesus love. In fact, those relationships that send us to our knees are gifts from our God. They are gifts. Because learning to truly love means we experience His ultimate blessing.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:7-8
I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
But there’s only one way to love like He loves. We have to daily die to self. Because “self” expects and walks around all puffed up. “Self” stakes its rights and only gives after it first receives. But that’s not Jesus.
Jesus served those who hated Him by taking the punishment they deserved. The punishment I deserve. It’s radical. It’s near scandalous. He didn’t pick a fight with those who spit at Him. Instead He washed His betrayer’s feet.
It won’t make sense to our world because our world tells us that true love is two-sided. But true love — God love — is actually very one-sided. It’s independent of the other person.
The entire Bible hangs on this one thing. If we could get this, then we would get the heart of everything God desires for us. Love — humbling ourselves and esteeming others better.
Empower us, Lord, that *You* may be glorified.
Fill me, Lord…
What lies have you believed about love?
What truths about love challenge and encourage you the most?