I’ve always noticed patterns. Maybe it’s the artist in me, but patterns and correlations jump out at me immediately in art, nature, and when it comes to life in general, but not so much when it comes to my own life.
After having a week of company a dear friend warned, “Take care of yourself. You’re always sick after company.”
I was shocked. “I am? I hadn’t noticed that.”
I’m the mom who makes sure everyone gets their daily supply of vitamin C, protein, and leafy greens, but who skips breakfast (and sometimes lunch) in the bustle of it all and then I wonder why I get shaky.
I’m the mom who takes kids to their gazillion doctors appointments when I haven’t had a physical myself for nearly ten years. (I know.)
Last night in family devotions Peter shared an interesting correlation between lack of love and all the other vices known to man.
Every sin ever committed had , at its root, a lack of love for God and others, and a super-abundance of self-love.
He read 1 Cor. 13, the love chapter, and then went on to explain that love is really the singular fruit of the Spirit that is the basis for all other “fruit.”
He read this excerpt from Ray Steadman on the fruit of the Spirit:
“It has been pointed out that all of those qualities really are manifestations of the first one, love — that, after all,
joy is love enjoying itself;
peace is love resting;
patience is love waiting;
kindness is love reacting;
goodness is love choosing;
faithfulness is love keeping its word;
gentleness is love empathizing;
and self-control is love resisting temptation.
Love is the key; love is the main thing. This chapter, therefore, is setting forth that quality of love which is the work of the Spirit of God within us reproducing the character of Christ. Now once you have love all these other qualities that are part of the fruit of the Spirit are possible to you.
If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we can be patient; we can be peaceful; we can be good, loving, faithful, gentle, kind, and all these other qualities.
But without love all we can do is imitate these qualities, and that is what produces a phony love. One of the most deadly enemies of the Christian cause is phony love. That is why, in Romans, Paul says, “Let love be genuine,” (Romans 12:9a RSV). When you come into the church, especially among the people of God, love must be genuine. If it is not, it is hypocrisy. If it is put on just for the moment, if it is an attempt to put on a facade, to act like you are kind, thoughtful. gracious, faithful, and so on, but it all disappears as soon as the situation changes, that spreads death within the whole community. Genuine love, however, will produce all these qualities. ~ Ray Steadman Commentary”
I was thankful for this correlation because I am a “woman who loves God”, but truth be told, sometimes I don’t.
And I’m a woman who loves people, but some days I wish people weren’t so needy. (Translation: I’m selfish some days.)
And this is not okay because I want my life to be characterized as being a loving mom, wife, friend, and neighbor.
So I need this reminder every day and I need God’s “shed abroad” love in my heart overflowing my life every day.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming circumstances or limitations for my lack of love and joy because I know full well that I am 100% responsible for me and my own actions, reaction, and affections. I know the Source. I choose to draw from Him or not.
I know that you, too, want to love God and others well.
Imagine what loving God supremely would look like in our homes, communities, and churches? Imagine how it would change every interaction.
Selfishness and personal pettiness would be kicked to the curb. Moodiness and a critical spirit would be replaced by care and concern for others. Serving others would become the norm.
This is what we need today in our homes and desperately in our churches.
It may seem simplistic but this is the need: more love to Thee.
Maybe its simplicity makes it easy to ignore. We’re often enamored more with things like being known as wise women or discerning women, when what we need desperately is to be known as loving women.
It goes back to our primary purpose and calling. It’s the only safeguard for our heart when trouble comes and dreams are broken and the unthinkable becomes our reality.
And loving God is easier when you know Him and His great love for you. His ridiculous, super-abundant, chasing, steadfast, restorative love for you.
Today, have one aim: to love God. Then watch as His love runs in and fills you and overflows your life so that you can love others the way you’ve always wanted to.