Learning to Love

This month, I’m participating in a study on love, based on 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve had different ideas on the topic over the years—back when I was 5 or 6 and couldn’t write much, the most common phrase in my letters was “God is love”.

Back then, those words were security to me. That is who God is. But my idea of love—God’s love—never went far beyond that. That is who God is, but I never applied it to my life as “God is love, so therefore I should be . . . .”

Learning to Love

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:2-3)

The study so far has been challenging and enlightening. Seeing how without love we are practically useless has made me wonder how love is shown in my life.

  • Am I showing love to my coworker when she offers to do the last little bit of cleaning, that can only be done by one person, and I let her do it? Especially when I know she’s tired and would rather go home to rest?
  • Am I showing love to my brother when he has an exciting experiment and I’m feeling tired and grumpy, so I tell him I’m not interested?
  • Am I showing love to my friend when I tell her of my troubles, but never care to ask her about hers?
  • Am I showing love to my neighbor when she stops by, and since I don’t really like her I take the option to duck out to my room and let Mom talk rather than carry on a conversation?

Truthfully, I have to answer no to all those questions. I’m pretty terrible at showing love. So this next week, I’m challenging myself to do at least one thing each day to show love to someone—whether it’s speak a word of encouragement, do something for someone, or simply listen to my brother’s idea and practice some patience.

This week, I want to be proactive about learning to love those around me. I do love and appreciate a lot of people, but usually that isn’t shown.

Will you join me? Can we have a positive influence on the world and the people around us this next week?

And if this aspect of love is a little easier for you than for some of us, do you have any practical tips for how to actively show our love to others?

2 thoughts on “Learning to Love

  1. Given that Jesus is the Love of God expressed (for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…) then to me, the question about Divine Love which I find most compelling is the question of how we can BE love, not just ‘show’ love.

    The whole world is full of love. As a young Christian, it used to intrigue me that I saw so many Christians, who seemed genuine in their faith, but who didn’t compare to the ‘love’ that I saw in non Christians, Buddists, even Hindus. Even some atheists seemed to have ‘more love’ than most Christians. Or so I observed. They certainly had more love than I.

    In considering this, I observed that a lot of rules, spoken and unspoken, imposed and even imaginary, prevented Christians from being able to show love to their brothers and sisters. Normally, the “he’s a boy and I’m a girl” thing prevented friendships from growing between the genders, or “he’s a new Christian”, or “He is a different flavour of Christian”…. or “We have heard things about THAT guy…. ” Whatever the reasoning, I can think of so many friendships that never had the chance to grow, and many relationships that never had the chance to start. Because of rules. And rules, we are told, are there for good reason – to keep us safe from harm. The result though, is a lot of very lonely Christians.

    In the world there is good reason for rules. Even in the church.They are to keep us safe. But I want to put forward an idea that is so preposterous, so insane, so absolutely impossible that you may just think that it is worth thinking about! Here is a question: What about in the TRUE church? In the Body of Christ? Is there a need for rules there? Well, in a sense, yes – because things must be done decently and in order. But think of a regular body. Does the heart obey rules to beat, or does it beat, by virtue of the fact that it is a heart? Do the lungs breath in obedience to a rule, or do they breath because of what they are? What of the liver, the kidneys, the intestines? Is it not true that ALL members of the body operate because of what they are and what body they were BORN into and not because they are all TRYING to obey a rule or two? Is there any separation between members of a true and healthy body? Do they not all relate to each other in peace and harmony? Do they not all support each other? Indeed, even ‘uncomely’ body parts are not marginalised. Or so says the Apostle Paul.

    What then of the members of the Body of Christ? When DIVINE Love is projected, SOVEREIGN Grace takes over. That is so different to the luke warm church… where love is projected and grace takes over. Sure, love is projected… human love…. and grace is projected – that is to say, freedom, anything goes, no standards. But in the TRUE church, DIVINE Love is projected . SOVEREIGN GRACE takes over. What does that mean?

    Well, in considering this today, I find myself thinking of Jesus, who was the SOVEREIGN WILL and LOVE of God expressed. Jesus was able to talk to anyone, male or female, rich or poor. Jesus was able to love both Martha AND John. I think that is just wonderful. So simple and refreshing. God commends His love to us, in that whilst we (male AND female, rich and poor) were yet sinners, Christ died for us. For everyone who can, in Jesus name, believe.

    Therefore do rules apply to us? Why is it that friends cannot communicate in some Christian circles just because of gender? Or because of a fear relating to this?

    I was thinking today, that the Bible says that “Perfect LOVE casts OUT fear, because fear has torment.” Surely, living by a rule that is supposed to keep us safe ONLY has value if there is a RISK associated with it? Risk implies fear. PERFECT love CASTS OUT fear. Therefore, to go back to my original question, should we as Christians be bound to rules? I say no….not if you are both born again believers who are genuinely living your faith.

    Paul told us men to treat the younger sisters with respect. But I do not see anywhere in Scripture where he separated them and prevented friendships from forming. God IS Love. They who dwell in Love, dwell in GOD. Jesus is the LIGHT of God expressed. And if we walk in that Light, as HE is in the Light, then we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. WE HAVE fellowship! To me then, feelings of loneliness imply that either I or those who I care about, are actually tied up in rules…. not fellowship.

    I think that is wonderful. Therefore, rather than me trying to be more loving, I’m asking God to make me LOVE. Make LOVE my core, and my Soul. Don’t let me try to love my neighbour, or my brother or my sister. Father God, let me BE Jesus to them. Let me BE LOVE to them. For His names’ sake.

    Here is a lovely song which makes a very similar point. I hope you enjoy it. “Love sings, when Jesus prevails!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m535OdDhFcY

    In Them, Father and Son,
    Ross

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