Friday, March 9, 2012

LOVE


A while back I posted about love - you know, the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians? You can read it here. I wrote about my increasing awareness of my inability to live up to this kind of love: "I am realizing more and more these days that try as I may, all my efforts to improve aren't working. Trying to love like this is impossible."


Reading through this passage is a glaring reminder to me of all the ways I fall short of loving like Jesus loves. Do you feel like that? Are you tempted to read the first three words "Love is patient" and give up? I am. I have to ask myself. "have I been patient with everyone all the time?" Forget about for one day.

Even for one minute?

Have I loved like that?

Well. I guess when you put it like that...well...

...no.


I'd love to sit perched upon that lush velvet chair and recite all the ways my heart loves like this. My heart's desire and if you are in Christ, your heart's desire is to love like that. You and I long to be patient and kind, not short-tempered and rude.



But what happens in that moment when others don't meet your expectations? What happens in that second when you are having the same conversation with your teenage daughter for the tenth time? You snap. You cut it short. You are exasperated. You don't want to be brusque but your emotion takes over and your response is blunt and terse.

Phil Ryken, author and President of Wheaton College writes:

"None of us lives with this kind of love, and there is an easy way to prove it: start reading with verse 4 and insert your own name into the passage every time you see the word "love". For example: "Phil" is patient and kind; Phil does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. He does not insist on is own way; he is not irritable or resentful; he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Phil bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Phil never fails." Do the same thing for yourself and you will know how I feel: not very loving at all." (excerpt from Loving the Way Jesus Loves Crossway 2012)

If 1 Corinthians is a portrait of love and none of us can possibly love this way, who is this a picture of? There is only one man who ever lived a love like this. One god-man who could and has personified this portrait of love. Jesus is this One, this Love. A God sent Love. A Love that came down to rescue unloving people like me and like you.

Jesus perfectly loves. Knowing we are weak and frail he says to me and to you, "You can stop trying to do this on your own. There's no need for this never ending cycle of effort and despair. See, I have loved you with a perfect love that will never fade, never give up, never end. In Me, you have the love you are seeking. All the love you need. I delivered up My body for you, and even though it looked like I was losing I gained everything by giving up. I won for you so you are free to give up. In those moments when you fail at loving others, when you feel like you're drowning in guilt and shame, remember Me. Remember My love for you. Remember it is not dependent on what you do or say. Remember that I came to rescue you, to bring you back, to care for you. I love you, God gave you to Me and I will keep you always and forever.

Nothing can change My love for you...nothing...forever...and ever..."

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