“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.
As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 6
What is Love? I mean, we celebrate love with weddings, anniversaries, holidays, flowers, cards, balloons, stuffed animals, fancy dinners and most importantly chocolate (or donuts in my case because, donuts). We give love to our children by provision, nurturing and guidance. We often give love to our parents out of gratitude and honor. We dream of love when we are young. I actually think it might be weaved into the DNA of a little girl, to pretend to walk down the aisle in a big fluffy white dress and then boom – go straight into carrying multiple baby dolls around on the hip and in a stroller, smothering them with love too.
Remember the puppy love feeling? When we start to fall in love with someone but neither one has dared to say those three little words yet. We look for other ways to show it – affection, gazing into each other’s eyes, spending every waking moment with one another and then drawing out long goodbyes – only to call one another five minutes later just to say hi. My husband and I met virtually so ours was a bit different and involved very long emails (modern day love letters) and hours of phone conversations (although, the goodbyes were still drawn out and probably more dramatic – “you hang up, no you hang up” etc.). In this stage, we aren’t quite ready to be vulnerable enough to vocalize it but because we feel it, it’s so easy to show it. It’s what we think of as love.
Then things start to shift. Once the love has been declared, the chase has been conquered and the hard times of life start to hit – Love becomes a much harder action to live out. It takes a lot more effort to love. To put another person first. To not just SAY that we love them but SHOW that we love them. Level two of the battle starts to commence when our selfishness starts to creep in and we grow weak in laying our own desires down. But that is when true love prevails. When every part of us wants to throw a big old temper tantrum and just agree with our new society proclamation of “taking care of ourselves first”. When we are worn down enough to consider or give in to the enemy’s temptation and ignore the escape from it that God is offering. That, is the moment that defines our obedience in how God is calling us to love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
That’s a bit too much for me to unpack because it infiltrates into every area of our life. I can recall several instances where I have not exercised patience and I’m just thinking of today. There are definitely times when I am easily angered (I have three wild children, I know someone gets me on this one). And I know that I have failed friends, family members, my spouse and those precious wild children. But our Almighty Creator reminds us that we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Love isn’t based on how others love us. It isn’t based on what reaction or response we get. It isn’t contingent. It’s understanding that when we seek God’s love first, our heart’s desire becomes to love out of obedience to him. It’s understanding that despite our circumstances, we show love. It’s remembering that love isn’t a feeling – it’s an action.
Are we loving well? Are we going against the natural grain in our hearts and loving when things are tough? Are we responding in love? Are we walking in love? God, may our hearts long to love like you love.
This post by Megan Wright…one of our new contributors. Bio coming soon!