Thursday, August 30, 2012

So This Is Love...

Hello, Readers!  When I logged on to My Heart Ministries today, I saw that my last post was in December.  Yikes!  I've missed writing in the last nine months, but life has been...Busy.  Crazy.  FULL.  Let's just suffice it to say that God has been doing a LOT in the life of my family in the last year.  But I promised myself that when school started this fall, I would get back to my writing.  So, here it is, the second week of school.  And here I am, sitting at my computer, my heart and mind full of what I want to share with you today!

I titled today's post "So This Is Love..." because I've been doing lots of reading and learning lately about what love really is.  I have had this mistaken idea that love is easy, that it flows naturally, and that it always feels good.  Sure, I knew that every relationship has its challenges, but I was convinced that as long as I loved someone, life with them would be easy.  WRONG! 

Last week, my oldest son came home from church on Wednesday night and quoted his "extra credit" memory verse: "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."  I'm sure you'll recognize that from 1 Corinthians 13.  My son has had a little trouble lately being nice to his three siblings, so I asked him to think on that verse for a while, to ponder what it means in real life.  I wanted him to understand that his behavior reflects whether he truly loves his siblings or not, and if he isn't acting loving towards them perhaps he needs to consciously work on how he treats them.  I'm not sure he really got the point.  But I did.

We have a chalk board in our kitchen where I write a Bible verse each week.  I pulled out my New Living Translation and wrote 1 Cor. 13:4-7 on the board as a reminder that I need to ACT more loving toward my husband and my kids.  I really enjoy how the NLT phrases those verses: "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.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 

There is so much in those verses that hit me, things that I can't wait to share with you.  But it won't all fit in one post, so here's what I want to share for today:  Patience and kindness and humility and forgiveness do NOT come naturally.  I don't care how much you think you LOVE (insert lots of hearts and "frillies" around that word) your spouse or your children, those qualities do not come easily.  Oh, they might for a time.  You know, until they leave their dirty socks on the floor AGAIN, or they roll their eyes at you, or until they lie to you or betray you.  When life gets gritty, love gets difficult.  In fact, in and of ourselves, true love is pretty nearly impossible.

So what's the secret?  I *love* the answer to this, because it's really no secret at all.  "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." Galatians 5:22-23.  There is absolutely NO WAY we can fully love -- emotionally or actively -- our family and friends without the help of the Holy Spirit.  It is impossible to live out the kind of love that is described in 1 Corinthians unless we are allowing God's Spirit to bear fruit in our lives!  Galatians 5:25 says, "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." (Italics mine.)  That includes our feelings and actions towards the people around us.  Loving them starts by surrendering our relationships and interactions with them to God.  EVERY DAY.  Which means we have to spend time with God EVERY DAY.  (Somehow it always comes back to that, doesn't it?)

This is where I would normally write a cute little conclusion, wrapping up all that God has put on my heart to share, but I'm not going to do that today.  Because there's so much more that I can't wait to write!  Next week I'm going to share with you what God has been teaching me on the subject of having a love that endures.  Stop back by My Heart Ministries sometime Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon for "So This Is Love...:Part 2."

Have a wonderful and blessing filled weekend!

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