Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Love Is," By Kelli Zaniel

"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling,” Exodus 15:13

“Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements (Deuteronomy 11:1); serve him with all your heart (v. 13); walk in all his ways and hold fast to him,” (v. 22). Am I really loving God, serving Him, walking with Him and holding fast to Him? Do I even know what biblical love even means? As I read chapter 5 in, “Crazy Love,” I was desperately impacted, convicted and challenged by Francis Chan’s discussion on God’s definition of relentless, crazy and amazing love.

The Holy Bible defines love as: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). In "Crazy Love," the author challenges us to insert our name in the verse as a substitute for the word love. I decided to participate in the challenge. I felt as if a thick blanket of conviction had been thrown over my head as I began inserting my name into the verse. Here we go…

Kelli is patient and kind (I began to move uncomfortably in my seat);
Kelli does not envy or boast;
Kelli is not arrogant or rude;
Kelli does not insist on her own way (small beads of sweat began rolling down my flustered face);
Kelli is not irritable or resentful (ok, now I just have to stop).

As I wiped the perspiration off my forehead and repositioned myself in the chair, I felt like a fake, an imposter! I was not comfortable with the “me,” version of this verse. On this particular day, I gave myself about a C minus. If I am only an “average,” student in the subject of love, then I must not be loving other people the way God intended. If I am failing at loving others well, then I must not be loving God well either. Ouch! How can I really love God the way He describes in 1 Corinthians if I can’t even do it in my everyday life?

The Old Testament has plenty to say about God and love. "The LORD, is a compassionate and gracious God, who is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6). “The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion,” (Numbers 14:18). God is not only “love,” but He is abounding in love. His love is unfailing (see Exodus 15:13).

How are we supposed to love God? The Bible says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Joshua 23:11, even goes so far as to tell us to be, “very careful to love the LORD your God.” He wants us to love him and others the way He first loved us and continues to love us. If we don’t know the proper biblical meaning of love, then how can we enjoy a love relationship with the Father? How can we love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength?

"The LORD is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul,” (Deuteronomy 13:3). I hate to be tested, but when God decides to pull out a pop quiz on love, I want to be more than just average. I want to excel for him. I want to give God my very best, my most excellent everyday, because that is what He wants to give me. We will be rewarded.

This week, make your own personal confession to God, allow your heart to feel heavy with conviction, and challenge yourself to love those around you as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4. God deserves an “A+,” student in the subject of love. Lets take the “Love Challenge,” this week and strive to biblically love those around us the way God truly intended. Substitute your name for the word love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, write it down and study it everyday. Lets humble ourselves in the presence of God this week and ask Him to give us a heart that is abounding in love.

**Post a comment (or email me if you have trouble posting) about which part of 1 Corinthians 13:4 convicts you this morning. (Mine was the getting her own way part!) All who post today will enter a drawing to win a CD entitled, “Road Trip,” by our November speaker Renee Swope. I will post the winner on Tuesday!

1 comment:

  1. Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs. It's hard for me to love like that! It's amazing to me that God loves me, even after everything that I do wrong. I pray, that God will help me love like He does.