Friday, February 11, 2011

Love One Another

"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35

Ponder "love" long enough and you begin to wonder what the word even means. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary "love" is a noun. In it's definition I find "affection", "attachment", "attraction", "admiration" and "adoration". When you love you are devoted, loyal, and unselfish. Love means you have benevolent (disposition to do good, be kind) concern for another person.

You may have grown up knowing you were loved. Most of us have felt love for someone or something before. I accept that "love" in the English language is a noun (a person, place, or thing), but last time I checked "love" wasn't something I can touch or hold. Maybe "love" as it was first intended is something that is supposed to be done (an action) rather then just a thing.

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, but I wonder how many of us actually know what it means to love. Christians understand that we are called to love. Ten times in the bible God uses the phrase "love your neighbor".

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

The Lord has been working on my heart over the last year, challenging my idea of what love actually looks like. If love was considered an action, then how do I show love to others? Because it's not just a feeling I have or affection towards someone. I can show love by how I speak or how I listen, how I serve others, how I forgive, and most importantly, perhaps, making sure my heart and motivation is right as I'm loving others. Am I grumbling and complaining while I'm helping? Am I helping because I have something to gain or I'm worried about what other people think about me? Love isn't about me.

I have read several books on biblical love recently and I'm overwhelmed by this simple truth, of everything we are called by God to be, boil it all down and it starts and ends with love. Look at the Ten Commandments and if you are loving then it would be easy to obey them. This is why the two greatest commandments are about love. If you love the Lord and you love your neighbor then everything else flows out of that love.

Easy to say, perhaps harder to do...atleast all of the time. We all get distracted by our own selfish desires, which get in the way of our ability to love the way God calls us to. But I believe it's more important to try then to not try at all. God's love is unfailing and abounding. His love endures forever. Loving perfectly, as does the Lord, doesn't come until you meet God face to face.

"Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." (Psalm 36:5)

How do you show love? What does it mean to you to love?

Happy Love Day!

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-19)

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