Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I don’t know about you, but I have been loving from the wrong places of my heart. And not just that, I have been loving for the wrong reasons. But, I am not discouraged. No way. In fact, I am encouraged and feel like I’ve been given a fresh start in the love department! After a weekend retreat featuring teaching on the Biblical definition of love and incredible demonstrations of how that love was lived out in the life of Jesus, I have a new take on the word “love” and all that it truly means.

In 1 John 4:19 we are told, ‘we love because he first loved us.’ I don’t think I came close to really understanding that concept until this weekend. You hear about unconditional love and I think I scratch the surface of that with the love I have for my children and husband, but if I’m really honest, there are times when I let that love become conditional. I can build a wall around my heart and hover in there alone because my feelings were hurt, or I’m angry over something, or I just don’t “feel” like it. What I’ve learned is these are the times when it is especially important to tap into the well of love that Jesus wants to fill us with through His grace and mercy.

It’s easy to “love” when the person makes you happy, does nice things for you, tells you what you want to hear, listens to your direction, and on and on. It is not so easy when that person is difficult. It is even more difficult when someone truly hurts you or inflicts serious pain on you. But God is telling us to do just that. Not in our own strength, but His. Tapping into that love is the key. Knowing that I cannot do this alone, nor was I ever meant to. He wants to be that love resource, filling my well so that I can love from the overflow of my heart. That is a whole different picture of love for me.

I have written four “confessions of love” on my heart and my prayer is that they transform both my thinking and my doing (thank you Beth Moore):
• God is perfect love.
• Nothing can separate me from God’s perfect love.
• God pours His perfect love into my imperfect heart.
• Accessed, I can love anyone through anything.

I pray these will become the foundation of my truth about love. Loving others is not about what they can or will do for me. That is not even a part of the equation. A simple one-way street of overflowing love built on the rock of Christ’s love and power in me.

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