February 14, 2013

What? I don't have LOVE?

It’s one of the most popular scripture passages used at weddings. Most of us have read it, heard it, and maybe even recited it. You can probably guess what I am referring to: 1 Corinthians 13 – often known as the LOVE chapter in the Bible.

Reading my devotion one day it hit me. I do not love like Jesus asks me to and He doesn’t just ask, it is a command.  

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have
obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this
so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:10-12 NIV84

If we want to experience the Father’s love we must love just as He has loved us. When we do, then we will also experience complete joy.

Earlier this week I told you about some of the things I love, but what of the things I hate? Number one on that list is grocery shopping. My attitude is awful about it. I even avoid one particular retailer to not add to the foul mood.

I needed to change my attitude about this task (chore, I call it). It may not be my favorite thing to do BUT God has called me to be responsible, to work and care for my family. This task is assigned to me. When I work on my responsibilities as a part of a team effort, I serve my family. If I serve, then wouldn’t that also show love? My attitude spoke a different story! So it became quite clear to me, my attitude said I was being very selfish! That’s not serving or loving!

My nasty attitude carried over into the store, with every person I came in contact with. What a horrible grouch (can only imagine what adjectives grocery store workers might've use when they saw me coming!). Those poor cashiers and baggers (and I could teach a thing or two about how NOT to bag groceries!); I have not always been nice. I may not say much but sometimes silence can speak 1000 words – we know this to be true in all our relationships.

So as God got my attention I asked Him to help me change my attitude toward this task. It may not be my favorite “chore” but I can go about it differently, choosing an attitude of service and love. I must also remember that EVERY person I lock eyes with matters to Him and instead offer a kind word to compliment or thank them with hopes to add a little brightness to their day.

I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 NIV84

God says if we do not have love – we are creating annoying noise and are nothing. He does not care about our wealth or knowledge or gifts and talents None of that matters without love. One of my top spiritual gifts is faith (mentioned in above verse). I have lived holding my faith high, proud that I have such great confidence in God. This is a good thing to have and it is listed as one of the three best things to have above all else, but...

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV84

Did you see it? Many times as I have read this scripture, but that day when I read it, was like a light bulb! God clearly pointed out to me that my faith is nothing compared to having LOVE! What? I don't have love? At the very least, it was not my goal towards all people. How could I miss this?

Love is not just for experiencing His love for me but for giving His love away by showing it to others.

I need God in my life and to fully experience Him, so to choose love, I choose to experience the love He has for me along with complete joy because I have chosen to obey this command.

Allow me to challenge you to read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 today – look closely at what it says love is and then choose. And by choosing, may you experience complete joy on this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones.

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