Think back to when you were a child...or think of young children you know. For children, love comes very naturally and easily. I love to watch kids on a playground.
In our discussion last night we started by talking about how love does not judge. Conquering a judgmental heart/spirit is difficult when you don't recognize it. But what if you do see it? What if you've realized your tendency to judge others only on what appears to be truth...and you do nothing to change? "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1
I realize I quoted that verse already during this 30 day challenge. Get over it. Lol! ;-) I'm about to quote the rest of the 'love chapter'...so go ahead and prepare yourself. I am going to quote it in the NCV so that the wording is just a little bit different than what you probably have memorized. I want you to read it like it is fresh and new. Skimming over words of life and truth is easily done, but I'm praying that you don't skim or skip. I'm praying that you read them slowly and carefully...allowing fresh revelation to sink in. God has something to teach you today...or He would not have brought you here. :-)
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
How many of the things that are listed in those verses as the 'NOT to do's'...describe you even 1% of the time? How many of the attributes of love that we ARE to do, describe you 100% of the time? Love is hard sometimes. I don't pretend to be excellent at it. I'm still learning how to love...daily! It is always a test...because love is vital to showing Christ's heart to people. How do we learn? We can fake it...but how do we really learn to love?
Being intentional is a great place to start. Love doesn't always come naturally...which means absolutely NOTHING. NOT A THING! We can't trust our natural...because we are born sinful and broken. We must become like Christ. We must strive for His character. We can not be content with our sin...we must be disgusted by it. Fleeing from it as soon as we realize it is there.
How else can we learn to love? As one of the ladies said last night...we could take our cues from a dog. Yes...I meant to say what you read. A dog. Dogs are instinctively filled with love. They long to see us. They love to be around their family. They love new company. They don't care how long you are gone...they are ready, wagging, and awaiting your return. They make it clear when they want your attention...and are soooo beyond excited when you respond to their request. They are up for anything. You lead...they follow. They don't care who you are or what you've done...they can learn to love anyone if given an opportunity.
How do you compare? It's a bit sad isn't it? Sometimes I don't love to be around people that make me uncomfortable for one reason or another. Some days I don't want company showing up. I'm not always awaiting the return of people I deem difficult to love. When someone wants attention I don't always want to comply. In fact, I judge them sometimes as needy or *gasp* high maintenance. I'm not always excited to give of myself to someone in need. I don't always show love to people in the ways I've come to know they desire. And I don't show love to everyone I'm given the opportunity to.
Ouch! I just realized that my dog is smarter than I. That stings...but i clearly needed a reminder. I do not have love all figured out...so I must strive to be more like my diaper eating, trash sniffing, chicken chasing mutt. Lol!
I am sooo going to try it this weekend. I'm going out of town with some ladies from my church and I'm going to try to love them like a dog. Joy in just being together...yep. Passion to learn and grow with them...you betcha. Take them for walks...very probable. Always ready and up for the challenge to love in ways that they crave...that's what I'm praying!
Need lessons? I have a friend who has some puppies they need to get rid of! ;-)
Show love intentionally today. Let me know how people respond!