“What’s love but a second hand emotion?”

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Love!  A million songs are written about it. Every man, woman, and child craves it. Many don’t understand it. Some think it’s just about sex. Love makes us cry, fills us with longing, and can make life oh so sweet.  Christians talk a lot about love, don’t they?

Jesus did, too. Yet, for all our talk, authentic love remains the exception. Push us hard enough, disappoint us again, frustrate us and see if we remain loving by Paul’s definition- “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT)

Jesus set the bar high for us in the way He wants us to love. “As I have loved you, love one another,” He said.  Yep, the standard is Jesus. Chew on that for a while.

How did He love?

Remember when His friends were fighting about pecking order, “who’s first?”  Jesus got up from dinner, took off his shirt, grabbed a basin and towel, and did for them what none of them would do for each other; washing their feet. He took the place of the lowest household servant before them. After this living lesson in loving and humility, He said, “Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15, NLT)  It isn’t likely we will actually wash anybody’s feet today, but we will have the opportunity to show grace when someone treats us unfairly or unkindly. We will be presented with people who are thoughtless, even rude.  Serve them with kindness.

Love must be active. To make it just something for a song or a greeting card misses the point of the genuine article. Love sweats, bleeds, suffers, serves, gives, forgives – because that what Jesus does!

So how can we love that way?  It’s impossible, right?
No, actually it isn’t.  “We love because He loved us first.”

I faced a situation yesterday involving yet another disappointment in the life of a person that I care for. His choice was foolish, inconvenient to me, and intentional. I was aggravated, but challenged by the truth and made a choice to confront, but not with harsh accusation, not with angry emotion. I prayed for the Spirit to make me gently loving, a person who tried to understand, but who was courageous in truth.  And, He did!  It was a small miracle, and should be, Lord helping me, the way I always act.

How about you?  Are you settled in faith, knowing the fact that God loves you?  The happiest Christians I know are those who are up to their elbows in selfless service, not fueled by duty, but an expression of love empowered! When they participate in the work of the Lord – serving their family, teaching kids, feeding the hungry, … whatever He calls and equips them to do, they embody Jesus.  What could be more rewarding ultimately?

Here is a word from the Word. Of course you have read it before, often.  You have heard it at weddings, saw it printed on cards.  Still, spend some time with this paragraph today, and pray that as you are loved, you will love like this.

“What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels?
If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge?
And what if I had faith that moved mountains?

I would be nothing, unless I loved others.
What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive?
I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.

 Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!

 Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. We don’t know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn’t perfect will then disappear. When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways. Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face.

 We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.
For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13, CEV)

________

No Longer Slaves
(listen and worship)

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser
© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing CCLI License # 810055

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