Why is it, we need reminders of how to properly love: others…ourselves…God? In my humble opinion (and I’ve addressed this before) it is because we live in a world full of hurting people and hurting people both hurt others and can’t properly love others (or themselves). Even with as much healing and understanding I have received in this area of my life since reconciling with Christ Jesus, I still sometimes miss the boat. I allow a moment of fear or hesitation to slip in, hence making a slight mess that requires careful clean-up.
I know one thing for certain: Only God’s perfect agape love can show us how to properly love. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18 Holy Bible KJV) This passage speaks so many volumes I cannot begin to put it all here. I truly believe that more people have a need to hear this particular Word than realize it themselves. It is a perfect reminder of what the agape love of Christ, of Our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit have come to give us, yearn for us to let reign over our entire being, in order to be better at loving each other. And, to be loved by God in order to become whole.
God’s perfect love, shared, is magnanimous! Life changing. I’ve witnessed countless people who’ve come to the Lord, who’ve TRULY accepted the love of our Father and all that encompasses, and the 360 degree change that occurs in them. Then, I have seen the flip-side, where someone accepts Christ as their savior but stops short of understanding the point: Christ came to love us and to show us a more excellent way. A life more abundant. “We love Him, because God first loved us.” (I John 4:19). God loved us first…for no reason other than the fact we are His precious creation, and just like a child loves his/her mother or father without question, we are made to love God in return.
When we do not accept His love, understand or comprehend the boundless things His love does for us, individually….we are missing out on a huge part of our walks in life. His love is a healing love, one that is meant to bring us out of the shadows of fear and pain. A love so amazing we can overcome anything through it. Yet, so many stop short of the healing – and when one person has stopped short in this area, and someone tries to love them, it may cause them to hesitate. At least once in our lifetime, we will try to love a person who isn’t open to it, and learn how hard it is.
But is it worth it?
Is it worth the effort to love on a person who isn’t receptive? If it’s given unconditionally – yes. Because God created us to love others without condition as he does us and to love freely in order to help another see how it’s done. “If what we call love does not take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning.” ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Personally, my own ability to love others (and myself) has grown exponentially since re-committing my life to Christ, however, it does not look perfect. I had a harsh reminder recently of my imperfection and that I am still guilty of falling short. It’s not that I didn’t love someone properly, it was that I sensed God planted a seed He wished to be watered, but upon lifting up the top soil the roots seemed a bit tangled and I stopped to think. Instead of raging forth and just letting God’s love precede me I was cautious and caution opened the door-point to fear. I made a mistake by thinking; because for a split-second I took my eyes off of Jesus and let my flesh over rule what God was trying to do. Sometimes we do such things out of concern for the other person and respecting where they are; other times it’s self-preservation. Or, sometimes it is both at once.
We are not called to be timid in spirit; our spirit, if walking with the Lord is to be filled and overflowing with His love and confidence (I John 5:14). We are commanded by God to first love him and then love one another; it’s only through Christ’s unyielding example that we can do so, unconditionally and properly. We humble ourselves before God by loving him with all of our hearts, it’s the least we can do for Him, by loving the people He puts before us, in the same manner.
A reminder: Love is…”joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23a) The fruits of the Spirit of God are also things required to understand just what His agape love requires as well as being truthful. Love is not…fearful, hesitant, shrewd or painful thanks to Him.
Thank you Lord Jesus for showing us the way in truth and light; for illuminating your heart for us so brightly it’s undeniable! Your love is needed to desperately, by all, in this harsh fallen world. Please help us – guide us on how to love one another better and more fully. Let you love fall upon those who need it most today! In your precious name, amen!