What’s Love Got to Do with Me?

“I LOVE that sweater!”

“Look how soft this blanket is! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!”

“How ya doin’, LOVE?”

Love…We throw that word around pretty casually, don’t we? My hubby and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary this week. It still amazes me how someone can love me SO much…I mean, truly love, like he does!

Many throw “love” around readily, but do they…do we…really understand what love is? If we do, do we live it out?

To understand love, we have to understand God and what He has to say about it, because He IS love! He’s been directing me this week to dive into a well-known passage (1 Corinthians 13). Please don’t leave, if you’ve already studied it a million times before. I really believe God is going to put a nugget in here that will be new to you, personally…and possibly even challenging. We won’t get through the whole chapter in this post, but we’re going to take in a small, but meaty, chunk. Let’s go!

First John 4:8 says that “…God is love.” The Greek word for “love” in this verse is the exact same word that’s used in 1 Corinthians 13:1– “agapé.” When we read about love in both of these verses, we’re really reading about God–and what HE prefers, which is what “agapé” (love) means. Can we sit here for a minute? Too often, we can focus on what WE want, what WE think we deserve, why We are right…When we focus on WE or ME, we lose the point of love…to focus on GOD and what HE chooses. Let’s dig in to see what it is that He does prefer.

When we focus on WE or ME, we lose the point of love…to focus on GOD and what HE chooses.

Verse 1–I can praise God with my words, just as men and angels do, but if I don’t show the affection and kindness God wants me to show; if I don’t mean well; if I’m not friendly, helpful, and cooperative; I’m just makin’ a bunch of sounds that sure do sound like noise. My shouts, complaints, and loud arguing sound like war cries.

God wants my actions to back up my talk–that I’m a follower of Christ. Do they?
He wants my intentions behind my actions to be pure and to consider others. Am I really meaning well, or am I doing anything, because it’s expected…or for show?
He doesn’t want me to complain or argue. It just sounds like I’m at war with someone, rather than living in unity. How am I doing?

Verse 2–If I have the ability to hear God clarify His truth and proclaim it to others with confidence, to know all the secrets God has revealed as well as applied all the knowledge God has given me, and if I have come to trust in all that God has persuaded me is His will [I know this seems a weird way to say this, but “faith” comes from a word that means “be persuaded”]…so much so, that I could change the place of mountains (aka accomplish extremely challenging, impressive, notable, and unimaginable things), but I don’t show the affection and kindness God wants me to show; if I don’t mean well; if I’m not friendly, helpful, and cooperative; I’m nothing…At this time, I’m not the “someone” I think I am, and what I do (and do not do) now can have implications on the future.

Meaning well and being friendly, helpful, and cooperative are far greater things to God than doing something “amazing or note worthy,” according to “human standards.”
Do I put these things as a priority, as God does, or do I measure people’s worth by “achievements?”
Photo by Timo Stern on Unsplash

Verse 3–If I give my crumbs to feed people, person by person, until all I have rule over has been given to feed little bits of food to others, and if I decide to hand over my whole body to be consumed with fire, but don’t mean well and am not friendly, helpful, nor cooperative, my actions have done nothing to help me!

God’s desires for the heart behind the “help” to be pure, well-meaning. What hits me is it’s not giving hoards of food to one person or feeding the poor, like it seems from a lot of translations; it’s literally giving my crumbs or what falls from my mouth to many people, one by one, until everything I have left is gone. I have the rule or freedom over what’s in my possession and what I give, but what’s the heart behind my decisions? That’s what God’s concerned about!
Is my “gift” really friendly and helpful? Am I really sacrificing for others with a heart that means well? Do I do what is helpful for them, or am I just giving and giving my left-overs to a bunch of people to check off boxes that I’ve helped so many, while not taking the time to reach their hearts or know what they really need? Am I giving my best, putting someone else first, before indulging myself; or am I giving my crumbs?
Photo by Dovile Ramoskaite on Unsplash

We’re going to stop there today. We’ll pick up with Verse 4 next post. I’d love to hear how God spoke to you or what was fresh and new for your heart today. Leave a comment/reply!

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