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Monday, February 03, 2014

Praying Dangerously February Week One

Our next dangerous prayer is a fitting one for February: Love through me.

At first glance this prayer doesn't seem dangerous at all. Not like praying for God to change us.

But think about it a minute.

Who do you not want God to ask you to love?

If I'm gut level honest, there are people I'd rather not love. People who have hurt me so badly that I'd prefer to pray certain Psalms for but not welcome them into my life again.

So during a month where Hallmark dominates our thoughts, God loves me- and you- too much to let me ignore this selective love problem.

I wonder if I'm alone in this.

I think the first problem with my thinking here is that when I think of love, I think of the people I love the most and define love by the way I love them- I would give my life and everything I have if they need it. I can't wait to see or talk to them. I write them notes and sing goofy songs to them. I snuggle with them anytime they come near.  We have silly jokes and crazy sayings that make us laugh anytime we think of them.

I'm of course talking about my children.

I also define love in terms of my family and friends- I'd do anything in my power for them. I pray for them and can't wait to see them. And I know I will continue to love them and they will love me even when they hurt me or I hurt them because forgiveness is part of real love.

But love- Biblical love- isn't butterflies and beautiful memories. Not always.

The Bible is pretty clear on what love is- love is laying down your life.

Love is dying to self so that God is glorified.

Biblical love is the cross.

Love is messy and heartbreaking and hard.

Love is sacrifice.

It's sometimes unreciprocated.

Love is God. Love is Jesus. Love is the Holy Spirit.

We have to be very careful defining love without some clear words about what love isn't.

In fact, there are some important things love isn't. Love isn't abuse- emotional, physical, or spiritual. Love isn't manipulation.

Love doesn't ignore sin or make excuses for sin- yours or someone else's.

Love isn't a doormat or a punching bag.

Love doesn't wear itself to the bone or work itself to death.

These are just my thoughts on what love is or isn't. And sometimes they get me into trouble.

Especially when I argue with God about what it means to love those I'd rather not love.

So maybe the best place to go is to the Truth. The very definition of Love- God.

He says if we love Him, we will obey Him. John 14:23

In other words, when God says do this or that, I must do it. Even if I don't want to.

Sometimes love has to let go and hand a person bound in sin over to God. And that's hard. Loving someone who doesn't love you back.

That's when love is a cross.

And I don't like it. I'd rather define love as butterflies and beautiful memories, silly songs and snuggles.

Until I get on my knees to ask forgiveness.

Then I'm overwhelmed and thankful that love is the cross, and Jesus bore it for me long before I came to be.

I'm also thankful love is so beautifully portrayed in 1 Corinthians 13...

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endure through every circumstance.....Love lasts forever. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I think silly songs and snuggles pass the Biblical test. Just like wiping fevered brows and praying at bedsides.

But most of is God and God is love.

How do you define love?


Judy said...

Love is being there for our friends and family. Sometimes it's just being a listening ear while we squelch the impulse to "fix" the problem, knowing that figuring something out on their own is the only way some people grow.
And love IS patient...

Amy Wallace said...

Very true, Judy!

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