I am here to be real. To be straight up. To share the messy. The truthful. And if you remember, I had some issues about love and what it meant for me a couple months back. All because I was tasked with making a list.
I shared a little about that assignment and how it made me feel here.
That assignment. It changed me. In a good way. I didn’t make that list. But it wasn’t an act of defiance. The fact that I didn’t ever make that list, is actually a good thing.
Because, I took the time to read through the Bible. To read what God says about me. About His love for me. And he lists a lot of things. Many reasons why I should feel loved everyday.
I don’t plan on ever making a list.
Because love isn’t a list of shoulds and should nots.
It’s not a list of I do this, and then you do that. Because love isn’t conditional.
It’s not a list of what is right or wrong.
I don’t need a list in the morning to tell me to spend time with God. I do it because I have a desire to. I don’t need a notification, or someone to remind me to do so. I do it because I crave a connection with him. I want to have a conversation with him.
It’s because I love him. And If I don’t spend that time with him. If I don’t have that conversation. My day is all jacked up.
I don’t need a list to tell me that this spending time…that it is part of knowing love, being loved, and loving someone.
So I’m not finishing that list. Because there’s already one in the Bible. And it’s read at weddings…and it’s a call to Christians about loving each other. But sometimes I don’t see it or feel it.
What’s even more funny, is I read and prayed over this list every day for several years…but I didn’t feel it myself. Until I started praying it for myself. It’s a list all about love and how we can express it freely without money or material things.
It’s found in 1 Corinthians 13.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church all about love. It’s expression. The way we are to show it to others. The way we feel it from others. This love comes from God, and it’s our outward action to those around us. Whether in romantic relationship, or simply because we are a reflection of how He expresses it to us, and expects us to do the same.
It’s our list.
It’s been read so many times. Dissected so many times. Countless weddings have had this passage as the reading that defines the joining of two people. But…do we do what it says. Do we live it out? Do we actively express it? Do we feel it from each other? See it in each other?
And I’ll be honest. I couldn’t read it a couple months ago. I could not get through this chapter. It hurt. It felt like it applied to everyone but me. Like God wanted me to do these things, but I didn’t think I was worthy of receiving them.
I was oh so wrong.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, MSG
Here is my suggestion: Stop making lists. Of wrongs. Or even rights. We already have one. In the Bible. A list of how we are to show and be loved. Are the people we love these things? Are you these things? Do you feel these? See these? Are you doing these?
There’s your list. That’s how you love. Because He did it first. There isn’t a list needed. It’s all right here.
He gave His love to you. Now you…you go give it to someone else. But, start with God…and yourself first. The rest will flow later. That’s the only requirement for this list. Love Him. Love yourself as He loves you. Then go and love them.
I learned a lot about what I thought I was missing. What I thought I knew about love. Where it really came from the entire time. It was right there all along. From my Heavenly Father.
Maybe you have looked in all the wrong places for far too long. Maybe you have made lists, only to come up empty. Still yearning. Still wondering if you, or the people you give your love to are worthy.
They are. Because He says they are. You are. Because He says you are.
Want to know more? More of what I learned in my seeking to know more about what He loved about me? I’m still learning, we all are. We always are. But I’m willing to share what I am learning, as I learn to love the person God pursues daily.
I am writing about it for the next few weeks here on the blog, and you can join me, and maybe even trash your list of what the world tells you about love.
So you can fill up on His