Monday, June 22, 2015

Understanding Love as a Verb

Love truly is the greatest thing our world has to offer. We were created in it, by it, and for it. Love is our highest and greatest calling in this world (Matthew 22:36-40). I would like to think that I am great at being in love. That I hit it out of the park every time without cause for concern.

But then I come across a rough patch in life and begin to realize that I'm not even a rookie at love, I'm still in little league (and that awkward kid who spins in a circle three times while at bat, completely and totally missing the ball anyway). Yep, that's me.

I personally would like to believe that when I love someone, I'm loyal. I do nice things to surprise them. I would go that extra mile for them. I'm the person they can always call when they're down. And while these qualities are not bad ones to have, they are more of what our world constitutes as full  and meaningful love, not really God's version.

As I was reading my bible this morning I felt pulled to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, the love verses. I know that there are tons of people who are not even regular church goers or bible readers, who can recite the love verses, because they are so widely popular. 

But just because we can recite something or know it, doesn't mean we have fully let it settle in our hearts to put into practice. That was where I found myself this past weekend. In a place when knowing had to translate into doing, as a verb, and I honestly fell flat on my face. Three strikes and I was totally out.

This weekend Josh and I got in a bit of an argument over normal husband and wife, getting to know and understand each other kind of stuff and this morning my handicap pup had her 3,719,854th accident. Nether of these were pretty. Nether of them went the way I ultimately would have liked them to go. Nether of them went God's way.

That being said, this was most likely the reason God brought me straight to 1 Corinthians this morning. To review and soak deep into my heart the love verses once again so they could not just be words on a paper but every day verbs in my life.

Love is Patient.

Patience. While a beautiful word and concept, definitely not always a strong suit of mine. But if I am going to be someone who loves my family well, I need to continuously strive for patience. 

Love is Kind.

Whereas I would like to think on a regular basis I am a fairly kind person, in the heat of the moment, I am fully aware of the not so kind words that fly out of my mouth. Words have the ability to hurt deeper than any physical wound, therefor I need to continuously strive to be kind with my words and actions.

It does not Envy.

While I would like to believe that I love on my friends and cheer them on in the triumphs of their lives, I am well aware of that green little monster called envy creeping up in the background. I need to get him in check and fully love people by not being envious of them.

It does not Boast. It is not Proud.

These two almost walk hand in hand for me. I hope to strive always to be humble before my God and man, giving all of the glory, honor, and praise to God alone. Your pride will try to wreck your relationship daily. Josh and I have already learned this in our short time of being married. Our relationship is more important than the pride we want to cling to. We need to consistently choose love over pride every single day to make our relationship work, no matter how difficult that is in practice.

It is not Rude.

While I was raised to always have manners in every situation, we do not live in an Emily Post society, and I fail constantly at being rude and hurting people's feelings. Remember that thing I just mentioned about words hurting, well rude words really hurt, and I am not showing love to someone if I am being rude to them. Rudeness has no place in love.

It is not Self-Seeking.

If the first thing that I can think about in a particular situation is, "what am I going to get out of this?" than I am thinking all wrong. If the first thing I am thinking during an argument is, "how can I manipulate this situation to get the very best outcome for me?" than I am thinking wrong. Real love is never selfish, but rather places the self aside to serve others in all things. I need to be consistently placing others first to show them real love.

It is not Easily Angered.

Those select few people who have penetrated the deepest levels of my heart, know that I struggle desperately with this at the bottom of my core. Being angry is not something to be proud of and it is an evil that can truly hurt those around us if we let it. Being easily angered over little, insignificant things can tear a relationship apart. I need to consistently strive not to let my emotions rule my life.

It keeps NO Record of Wrongs.

Grudge holding will never be healthy for my relationships. After I have handed out grace and forgiveness to that person, the wrong doing is not to be placed on a tally sheet to be pulled out later as a weapon. It's over. Let it go. (Let it go)

Love does not delight in evil but Rejoices in the Truth.

Truth (God's Word) is greater and more powerful than anything you will ever come across in life. Period. Even if Truth is not what that person wants to hear in the moment, it will ultimately be the healthiest for their life to have Truth spoken to them over mindless agreement. If you truly love someone, you want them to live the healthiest life possible by walking in Truth.

It always Protects.

I need to protect those I love around me from gossip, slander, anger, selfishness, rudeness, and only I can step into the situation and make the decision to follow the crowd or protect my love.

Always Trusts.

To love someone I need to surrender. And by this I mean I need to let go of control and trust that they have the best interests for my life. I can not consistently dig my nails into a situation because I believe that I can control them, or the outcome. I need to surrender, let go, and trust.

Always Hopes.

There is always hope in every situation in life, no matter how dark. So to love well, I need to carry hope with me as I embark through each season of life.

Always Perseveres.

This one is a constant battle in our culture who has made it all too easy to walk away. Love perseveres. It perseveres through every hard and difficult season, no matter what.

Love Never Fails.

Love never fails, we do. If we consistently strive to follow all of the above (and I do mean all, not just the select few that we prefer), then it can NEVER fail. Because we are promised that it will never fail and in trusting my God's Word, I know He is always Truthful with me.

I think understanding love comes down to recognizing the attributes that make up love and striving to live them out daily. Love is not just a feeling of butterflies in the bit of our stomach as that cute person walks by, but it is an action. Love is a verb that we need to walk out daily. 

If you have not yet read Love Does by Bob Goff, please please go buy it and read it. It will honestly wreck your life in the best way and help you to realize the beauty of Love, the verb. It's a perfect summer read. Have a great week my friends!
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