When I was in High School, our school scripture was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. I heard those words about love from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 in assembly, at certain school events and the beginning and end of each term, multiplied by 6 years. So, all in all, a lot of times. Our school song was “Fill the world with love”, written by Leslie Bricusse. The first verse of the song was:
In the morning of my life I shall look to the sunrise.
At the moment of my life when the world is new.
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me.
To be brave and strong and true.
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
We sang that song more times than I can remember. One would think after all that, I would have a fairly good idea of what love is. But that is not particularly true. I don’t think we can fully understand love and just how deep and how wide it is on this side of heaven but we can certainly try. Love is not just a word we throw at people so they don’t leave us or so they do what we want them to do. Love is not an emotion. Love is a Person, God (1 John 4:8) .
For us to truly understand what love is, we must look to God. God does not withhold His love from us when we are naughty. He doesn’t cut off our oxygen supply when we are being rebellious. He doesn’t manipulate us or try to control us with His love. So why do we try to control God with our love? “God I watched church online on Sunday so You better come through for me at that job interview.” Really though?
Sometimes we don’t see the answers we are waiting for because we are trying to do a barter exchange with God. “I’ll volunteer at church for 3 weeks, You get me that new car. Preferably in red because #theblood #saved #redeemed.” That is not how it works. We do what the Bible tells us to do not because we are trying to get something out of God, but because we love God.
Please know that you are loved, you are not trying to get God to love you. He already loves you. God loved us first. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” Romans 5:8 says, “But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!”
Everything we do for God is in response to that love. The thing about love is that it doesn’t keep score. If you do something for someone you love it is not because you want something back. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It should be because you couldn’t help yourself, you just had to do it because you knew it would make them smile. We should be like that with God. Do things because we know it will make Him smile, not because we are trying to store up credit for that prayer request from last night.
Love is not selfish or self centered. It puts others first. Our love for God should motivate us to put God first in our lives. To think before we act. How will this make God feel? To think before we speak because sometimes our words can be unfriendly. Everything we touch and do should flow out of our relationship with God.
So, you can’t lock yourself up in a room loving on God or fasting or praying for 5 hours and come out and be as mean as a cut snake to the people around you. (Stole that phrase from my pastor, it makes me laugh every time I hear it.) Your love for God needs to flow into every relationship and every conversation. Because as much as you are made in the image of God, are God’s favorite person and soo loved by God, they are too. God loves people. All people, even the ones that are different to you. Loving God means we have to learn to love the things He loves and treat them with the same respect that He would.
Love and blessings,