Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Love

1 John 4:19 "We love because He first loved us."
Today as I ironed curtains (again), I began to think.
As Christians, we know we're supposed to love people. We know that the love of Christ draws sinners into redemption and compels even the hardest heart to soften. We understand that we are supposed to love others in a way that gives the world a living, breathing example of the affection of Christ.
But we fail. We stare at the fact that we looked down on the homeless man we just passed on the street. We get offended at the friend who didn't meet our needs. We decide what we feel comfortable doing is more important than obeying the Spirit when He says to serve our neighbor. We find ourselves knowing what we should be doing and staring down the fact that we're not quite doing it. A lot of people then move into the place of trying really hard to fix that problem and beating themselves up for not being able to do it right.
What I began thinking today, though, is that striving is the wrong answer. Instead of working hard to decipher how to fix our heart problem, our response should be to ask the Lord to reveal to us again his intense desire and love for us. Our action should be study of the heart of Jesus. Go back and become more rooted and grounded in love.
Because, you see, love that transforms people isn't forced or co-erced, whether by condemnation or false views of God. Love that transforms people flows out of love that has established identity. Love that flows out of a person naturally because it has become their definition. When the love of Christ becomes the ultimate reality of one's life, the love will flow naturally out of who Christ has transformed that person to be. He lavishes His love on us and offers to change our deepest parts into a heart after His own.
What I long to see is my friends, my brothers and sisters in the Church, myself become free from the idea that we just aren't doing it well enough. I long to see us soak in the heart of Christ, to lean on and cling to the love that is more demanding than the grave, to be enraptured and captivated by the tenderness of the God-man who gave His everything for us, to the point where we live the love of Christ instead of just knowing of its existence. For us to intimately know our Savior and minister out of that living relationship instead of out of our own compulsion. Gaze at Christ and what He did for you, and you will change. Then you will see the love you long to give to others flow freely.
So remember. Remember that when you want to love others "better" the answer is to re-visit the way Jesus loves you. Let him pour that oil of delight and tenderness over you and know that He will be faithful to answer the cry of the heart that seeks Him. Ask Him about His love; He will answer.

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