By Ginger Laury
In 1 Corinthians 13 we learn about Love. Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It isn't arrogant or rude. It doesn't insist on its own way. Love isn't irritable or resentful. It doesn't rejoice at wrongdoing, but does rejoice with the truth.
At first glance we might read this passage as a to-do list, or a list of instructions . . . Yes, I want to love, this is good, so I’ll be patient and kind. I won’t envy or boast. I won't be arrogant or rude, and on it goes. However, upon closer look, we find that this passage isn’t telling us what we need to do or strive for. It’s telling us who God is and who He wants to transform us into. He does this through our trials, our blessings, our lives. We can’t do this in our own strength. It’s something we receive when the timing is right.
The verse goes on to say . . . When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things . . . referring to our speech, our thoughts, and our reasoning. As we grow older and wiser, God blesses us with wisdom that transforms us into His likeness, love. All good in us, all love in us, is there because He has blessed us with it, not because we achieved it. He does this through time, and through tests, and through trials.
Think of a trial you’ve gone through. Has it made you more empathetic? Has it given you a greater understanding of what someone else is going through? Has it given you a connection with Love you otherwise would not have? It seems like God plays a nasty trick on us, making us suffer and hurt, and mess up our otherwise perfect lives. But the blessing is, in every pain He has a purpose. In every trial there is a transformation. In every low point, there is Love.
We’re not to manufacture love on our own. Love is what we are blessed with when we open our hearts to God and ask Him in Christ to give us the desires of our hearts. At first it seems impossible. If we can’t muster it up our selves, then why try? Should we just give up? Well, maybe in a sense. We give “up” our striving. We give “up” our control. We give “up” our efforts.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. God has invited us into His life. He has a purpose for us that’s so easy to forget when we get caught up in the details of day to day life. But God is a gentleman. He’s not going to barrel into our lives and scream and clamor for our attention. He is patient. He is kind. He will wait for us to give Him our attention. When we were children perhaps we didn't have the capacity to be still and know He is God. To sink in, to slow down, to meditate and listen to God’s quiet voice . . . but we do have that capacity now. The quietness is a doorway to Love.
What might be hindering you from love? From patience, kindness, humility or selflessness? What childish things could you put away? Are you willing to be still? To know that He is God? If you are, this is love and God will bless you with the desires of your heart.
By Laurel Robinson
What does God’s love look like? When we were children, we were taught about the tender shepherd in Psalm 23. We saw pictures of Jesus taking children to His lap, encouraging everyone to have the faith of a child, and warning anyone who would cause a child to stumble.
Now that we are grown, we know that life is more complicated. There are trials, disappointments, sickness, and a variety of enemies.
But God’s love is no less near. He is still that same shepherd. In fact, God allows trials because of His love for us.
His love is so fierce, that He will do whatever it takes to make us more like Himself. He knows where we need to be pruned. He knows how we need to be stretched. His wisdom is orchestrating those moments when we come to the end of ourselves and finally remember to reach out for Him. He even knows when we need rest.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
This was written by Jeremiah, in a book called Lamentations. The prophet was lamenting some terrible circumstances, and yet he could still perceive that the Lord’s love was present, and that He had not forsaken His people.
With the faith of a child, what will you bring to the lover of your soul today? Tell him of your circumstances and ask Him to amaze you with how He works through them and delivers you.