Have You Found True Love?

 

True Love?

We live in a love-saturated culture. It seems that most of the popular songs out there (actually, most of the songs throughout the history of the world) have been about love. Many of these songs even have “love” in the title. Do you know these? Can you name them from some of their lyrics?

 

Bittersweet memories that is all I’m taking with me. So good-bye, please don’t cry. We both know I’m not what you – you need…

 

Every night I’m lyin’ in bed holdin’ you close in my dreams, thinkin’ about all the things that we said and comin’ apart at the seams…

 

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame…

 

You don’t need money, don’t take fame – Don’t need no credit card to ride this train. It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes but it might just save your life…

 

The truth is that we often have the wrong perspective when it comes to how we understand “love” – we think about it as a “what you do for me” kind of emotion. It’s not about the other person but really only about how you make me feel. The problem is that these emotional connections only make it too easy to move on. “I don’t feel love for you so I’m gonna walk away.”

But real love doesn’t move on in difficult moments – it holds on and fights for the “other”

Paul’s perspective on love in 1 Corinthians 13 is famous (and probably overused come wedding season) but there’s something to it. So I’m going to talk about it again. I want you to notice the type of words he uses to describe love.

Love is patient (it performs the positive act of waiting)
Love is kind  (it responds to others with a tender heart)
Love does not envy (there are no intense negative feelings over another’s success)
Love is not boastful  (not a pompous windbag)
Love is not conceited (not puffed up, puffing up the self puts others down)
Love does not act improperly (it does not do stuff to shame others)
Love is not selfish (doesn’t seek personal advantage over the “other”)
Love is not provoked (doesn’t get caught up or riled up, not irritable)
Love does not keep a record of wrongs (don’t get historical)
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth (it treats others fairly)
Love bears all things (it protects and covers up what is displeasing in others)
Love believes all things, hopes all things (it trusts in God’s care and protection)
Love endures all things (love doesn’t bail out when times get tough)
Love never ends (despite trouble, hardship, or affliction, love perseveres)

Did you notice the type of words Paul uses? He uses verbs, not adjectives – love is something to be done.  This is the main point of John 3:16 ~

This is how God loved the world – that He gave is one of kind son…

This verse is not about the amount of love God has but how God shows love – through action!

Love isn’t about feeling warm fuzzies towards others. It’s about behavior. God loves us through His actions. He cares, so He acts accordingly. Christ coming to the world is the greatest act of love because it is putting our needs as His priority.

The flip-side to this divine display of love is that we are commanded to pick up and carry on this definition of love! We have the opportunity to create God’s kingdom on earth, and it all starts with love – how we treat and prioritize others.

Not to be trite and cliché, but what the world needs now is love. Not a schmaltzy, Coca-Cola version but a godly, biblical version of love as concrete behavior that puts others first and puts ourselves second.

Talk it out: Have you been on the receiving end of phony love? How have you seen the real deal?

I Won’t Grow Up!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So…you learn something new every day. Case in point: I just learned a cool definition for maturity – from Wikipedia, yes, but I trust them whole-heartedly 😉

In psychology, maturity is the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive, and is not determined by one’s age. Maturity also encompasses being aware of the correct time and place to behave and knowing when to act appropriately

Man! What a definition; the ability to respond in an appropriate manner, knowing how and when to behave appropriately.

When I think about Christian maturity I know a lot of us REALLY come up short of that definition! The Apostle Paul once wrote to the church in Corinth:

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

His distinction between infants and adults is fascinating. There is a naiveté to children in regards to evil. When it comes to our behavior we’re to be like kids – innocent and free from that junk. But when it comes to our thinking it’s time to grow up and be adults. So how were they thinking like children?

They were thinking selfishly.

That pretty much sums it up. Childish behavior is selfish. “It’s about me. What I want. Now. It doesn’t matter where we are. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. Serve me. My way.” This is completely opposite to the definition we just read. Childish behavior isn’t able to delay gratification depending on environment and circumstance.

The same is true in Christianity. Sometimes we behave like little children. We act selfishly. We desire our things. We want our way. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances. It doesn’t matter what else needs to happen. We’re focused on one thing and one thing only – ME!

In the church we see this come into play in a lot of different ways. “I don’t like the music.” “I don’t like how the pastor does….” “They’re sitting in my seat.” “They didn’t do my idea.” And that’s just off the top of my head. It all comes back to being selfishly motivated. When I focus on ME instead of on OTHER then I’m always going to put my wants and desires first, and I will pursue those wants and desires regardless of the appropriate manner, time, or place to engage in such behavior.

But Christianity is not about ME. It never has been. In fact, the only person Christianity has ever been about is Christ, and even he said:

The Son of Man (that’s himself) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

If we are to really strive to be like Jesus, if we are really going to mature as Christians, then we need to be intentional about putting off our selfish drives and start to focus on how we can serve others. That’s what stinks about maturing. Because we LIKE getting our way. We LIKE having the things we want – when we want them. It feels good to have our immaturity catered to – to remain like a spoiled kid. There’s a Peter Pan in all of us that wants to stay with the Lost Boys in Neverland forever. “I WON’T GROW UP!”


Too many Christians take that song as their theme song and join in: “We won’t grow up! We will never grow a day. And if someone tries to make us we will simply run away.” Ouch. Hits a little close to home, huh? I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. We’ve all done it to some degree. But that’s not what God’s family is supposed to look like.

We can do better. We can be better. Paul writes in Romans 12 that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. With God we really can change. We can leave behind childish selfishness and embrace Christian maturity.

It’s time to mature. It’s time to be an adult.

Grow up.

Related Posts:
~ God’s Big Boy
~ Becoming a Better Me
~ Creating Life Change
~ Sustaining Change in Your Life
~ Knowledge Vs. Relationship