Readers make the best writers. I’ve read that.
When you read a lot of the good, challenging, uplifting kind of stuff, you can’t help being helped by it.
I read this morning:
“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” ~ Unknown
“Conviction and Comfort don’t even live on the same block.” ~ a very wise grandmother
Nope. This post isn’t salacious. It’s to help you lift the bar high – way high – on this matter of love. Loving extravagantly never has meant excusing Wrong, liking everything and everyone, and tolerating Evil. Nor has it meant not supporting what’s right. “Love” never has meant “You agree with everything I do, say, or believe”.
I promised you 4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE.
- EXAMINE how much you love. Your pattern is Jesus. Quit getting sidetracked by looking around you; no matter how much you like them, no human will ever love in sufficient power, reach, and beauty as Jesus does. You want love defined? Read the Bible cover to cover. Yeah, all of it.
- EXPLORE how gently you’re living. Again, your pattern is Jesus. Spend time in the Gospels and the first few verses of Acts 1. Jesus was never mean, nor mean-spirited. Never afraid to confront Evil and evil persons, Jesus was nevertheless a gentle man in the way he lived. He respected and listened to his dad and mom. Though fearless in pointing out religious and political hypocrisy, Jesus showed and taught respect and appreciation for both the Church of His day and the few political leaders who were true statesmen. He also showed the gentlest of love for all He met. Again, go back and study the true definition of ‘gentle’. Some of the fiercest warriors I know are some of the gentlest-living people I’ve ever met.
- EMBRACE who and where God’s shown you you’re supposed to be, and what He needs for you to be doing. Even though it put Him out on the edge of Reason, Jesus looked God in the eye and said, “Your plan, Your will.” The only people who say walking with God is simple, or, even sillier, a weakling’s way out, are those who either have never done it at all, or tried it and suddenly realized they’d rather see what’s behind Door #2. To grudgingly let go of something God says isn’t good for you isn’t letting go, is it? To step through and beyond God’s open door for you with grace shows spiritual maturity, and it will just keep growing. It’s not just God’s grace that’s amazing. He means for yours to be as well.
- EXERCISE your conviction. Think, speak, and walk daily in the core beliefs God revealed to you. Nobody else’s convictions fit you. That’s why trying to preach yours to them doesn’t set well. That’s why listening to theirs and deciding, “Oh, well, those sound more palatable than mine” is lethal to your own faith. Trying to enjoy comfort and exercise conviction at the same time are nigh onto impossible, unless you know for sure what the latter are, and know when the former are pushing you to ignore the latter.
4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE aren’t glitzy, entertaining or fashionable. Shoot, sometimes they’re just flat a lot of work.
But they pay off.
Think of people within your orbit whose lives solidly impact yours and impress you. Ask yourself why. Then mentally hold them up against these four things. You’ll find they’re at work doing some or all of them.
Your challenge is to be that kind of person for somebody else around you.
Time’s wastin’. And they’re watchin’.
© D. Dean Boone, October 2017