There were so many scriptures God used when I was a Christian wife married to a secular husband. Some He spoke to encourage me to stay, some to give me strength. But the hardest scriptures were those which He used to transform ME, to be a better wife, love my husband (even in his secular ways) more deeply and show God more completely. 1 Corinthians 13 was the hardest of all.
All Christians know 13. They smile and numbly nod as it is read, 'Ah, yes, the love chapter'. If they are like I was, they think on how beautiful that scripture will look next to their framed photo of their wedding day (if it isn't already there). They scribble it, share it, memorize it... but like so much scriptures, it is often done in vain.
I once did it in vain.
Then God spoke to my heart and said LOOK, really look and see with the eyes of the heart, apply really apply, even when it is hard, the precepts spoken of...
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Do I speak ALL things with kindness and love, not accusations or irritability?
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
Is my faith head knowledge or heart matters?
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Do I give to others from the heart? Do I follow the spirit's leading and use of me or do I seek to plow my own path to receive some sort-any sort of recognition?
Love is patient
relying on the Spirit for understanding for which our patience is often extended
love is kind
not me being kind to gain approval from God or others, rather, the gentle kindness that spills out of a heart full of the Spirit... the kindness that looks at ALL others with the eyes of Christ.
love is not envious
love is glad for the success of others
it stuffs pride and unpacks listening ears
is humble, ready to serve those around... NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE!
is ready to see beyond self and extend grace to others (rudeness is really only selfishness expressed when we want our own way)
It does not insist on its own way;
It is pliable and always waiting for God's way... not just in self, but recognizing the value in others as well
it is not irritable
It is patience, waiting, and open to see LIFE abundant around, ready to embrace it with open arms
it lets go of the past... even 5 minutes ago past... because Jesus let go of the past to offer us a future, we should accept it readily, without strings attached. Everything happens for a reason we should ask what we can learn, how we can grow, who we can help as a result.... not resent.
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
good, bad, and everything in between with spouse, children, family, friends and... ALL
believes all things,
have a purpose, have a place, have a time and trusts God with ALL
hopes all things,
will work out, are working out, are part of God's plans because CHRIST is the hope I live through
endures all things.
Through our sufferings, He is glorified; through our weakness, He is strong - do I fully submit to enduring ALLLLLLL?
Love never ends.
It is eternal, not just external. It is internal, not just superficial. It is the gateway to heaven so
Do I really live it? Breathe it? Show it? All-the-time?
I'm not Jesus, I never will be, but shouldn't I be a reflection... am I allowing myself to be a reflection? Or do I get in the way trying to do instead of letting him do...
unending through me.
But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;
as for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
Our humanity will end only One thing is everlasting
so what is the purpose of our desires now?
What is the value of HIS desire now?
Which will I choose?
or the eternal?
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
When God first convicted me to REALLY apply this chapter to my life I realized then how much I had looked at the passages as an "idea" but never really OWNED them. As I began applying, living, doing them- joy seeped in, peace took over, faith was built, hope was renewed and BIG change happened in my house. I didn't look at how others weren't living 13, I simply did my part to live it and God worked in others through me.
I would like to say I have it down now. But I don't. These verses often echo in my heart though, as I weigh out my choices in behavior and thinking. "The Love Chapter" is a challenge, meant to be carried out day-after-day-after-day until we meet Jesus.
It isn't about love it is how to act in love.
It is the ULTIMATE love dare!
Are you up for the ultimate love dare? Will you reflect on LOVE each day, all day?
I do... well... at least I try!
Happy Valentine's Day! May your heart be full of Christ's love.
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