It is love week! (Public Service Announcement: This means you have LESS THAN A WEEK before Christmas Day. No pressure. ;))
When I was in college, I had a friend named Jenelle. Jenelle is, to this day, one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met. She was passionate and she really, really cared about people. One afternoon, Jenelle and I were talking about love - what it meant and how it manifests itself in our lives. She said to me, “I have failed the love test miserably!”
What?! I’d never met someone so sugary sweet - and yet so sincere in their sugariness. If Jenelle was failing the love-test then I was somewhere subterranean. She wasn’t snarky or sarcastic or bitter or brash, and I had been ALL of those things! That week! “What love-test?” I asked her.
“Well, I plug my name into the verses in 1 Corinthians 13. You know, where it says, ‘Love is patient,’ I say, ‘Jenelle is patient,’ and so on and so forth. This week, I don’t think I was ANY of the things that love is.”
I tried it, and was shamefaced before I got to the end of the first verse. If you think you are a loving person, you should try stacking yourself up against the real, perfect love described in 1 Corinthians 13. Real love is selfless; completely, totally, wholly selfless. It is beautiful and it is everything we’ve ever needed. Real, 1-Corinthians-13-love is what we’ve been wanting our whole lives. We’ve longed to be the subjects of so great a love, and we’ve wanted to be able to love something so purely and perfectly – to know what it must feel like to love in that way.
1 John 6:16 tells us “God is love.” God isn’t just loving or a lover. He doesn’t just feel love, show love, or choose love, like we do. God IS love. We can’t even know what real love is apart from Him. He defines love, in the same way He defines goodness and holiness. God IS LOVE.
That truth has comforted me in countless times of trouble, hurt, fear, and sadness. Because I know that…
“(God) is patient, (God) is kind. (God) does not envy, (God) does not boast, (God) is not proud. (God) does not dishonor others, (God) is not self-seeking, (God) is not easily angered, (God) keeps no record of wrongs. (God) does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (God) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (God) never fails.” [1 Corinthians 13:4-8]
Have you experienced the God who IS LOVE? He loves you already, this very moment. If you have encountered God’s life-changing love, how well are you loving other people? Try the love test - plug your name into these verses and allow them to challenge you to become a more loving person today.
P.S. You know how last week we made a big deal about joy being a fruit of the Spirit? That JOY is proof that you are abiding with God, because God's Spirit MAKES US joyful? Well, love is a fruit of the spirit, too. In fact, it's the first one listed. I say that to encourage you, because when I plug my name into the "love-test," I pretty much bomb it every time. Especially when it gets to the part about not envying and not being self-seeking. But there's hope! When we are walking closely with Jesus, we become more loving. The God who is love, plants real love in our hearts when we allow Him to be the Lord of our lives - to call the shots. So if you're feeling a little sorry, and like the opposite of loving, just draw near to Jesus, and allow yourself to be amazed and moved by His love.
"For Christ’s love compels us..." [2 Corinthinans 5:14]