The kind of love the world needs is the love that comes from a life that is surrendered to Jesus, and keeps surrendering, keeps vowing to follow Him when the going gets really tough.
While studying 1 Corinthians this week, I came across this thought in my devotional reading: THIS IS NOT A CHECKLIST.
Have I been patient today? – check.
Have I been kind – check?
I must be a pretty loving person.
But – perhaps it IS a checklist, but of a different kind. A checklist of surrender:
"Lord, I surrender to You all those things that cause me to erupt in anger and become impatient. I confess to You that I’m not always kind to my spouse or my kids or that annoying co-worker.
Do Your cleansing work in my life so I can respond with kindness at all times to all people, even those closest to me. I surrender to You my pride that causes me to boast about myself or keeps me from humbly serving others. Sometimes I’m jealous or envious of others, and that keeps me from rejoicing when good things happen to them – sometimes I even rejoice when bad things happen in their lives because of jealousy, irritation, or perceived wrong. Lord, help me so that I might love better."
Do you see what I mean? The kind of love the Scriptures teach is not the kind we can work up ourselves by trying harder. Our hearts must change, and heart change comes from confession, repentance, and surrender that leads to forgiveness, healing and cleansing.
Learning to love a broken world, people who are quite different from us, or those we strongly disagree with, only comes through complete surrender to the Lord’s redeeming and refining work in our lives.
Without that, the world will never know God's love at work in His followers.
Just before He was betrayed by one of His 12 disciples Jesus spoke these words to them: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It’s interesting to me that He said this even when He knew the betrayal was coming. He knew it would affect not only Him, but also the rest of the 12 who had walked and talked and joked with and trusted Judas. They would keenly feel the betrayal. He also knew they were about to encounter people who would kill Him, their best friend.
What do you do with these kinds of feelings? How do you love the one who betrays your teacher and best friend resulting in His crucifixion? “Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love…”
This is a strong challenge for me. I’m not always a good lover, but even though I can’t love well on my own Jesus continued with these words: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me” (John 14:1).
I don’t have to be troubled that I cannot do this on my own, for Jesus invites me to trust Him and allow Him to do in me what I cannot do for myself.
This is the kind of love that brings glory and praise to God and brings healing into the world.
Beth Marie Bearden gave her heart to Christ when she was a young teenager and soon after felt God calling her to ministry.