Well, I am pretty inept at technology and have tried numerous times to get in to do another entry, but for whatever reason, I couldn't get to this form (LOL). So, hopefully, this will post. . .
We all know that we should love everybody, and for most of us, we are full of love for family, friends, neighbors, pets and yep, some of us even love our neighbors and just any and everybody. As Christians, we often claim to engage in the love fest, loving all of mankind, but do we really?
Love is a fruit of the spirit, an evidence of a true relationship with Christ and abiding in Him. Without love, I Corinthians 13:1 says, we "become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." We can speak words of love, yet not love. We can even perform what seem to be loving acts and not truly love. So then, what is it that really lets us know that have love as a fruit of the Spirit?
Most Christians can recite those verses in I Corinthians 13. They're on cards, t-shirts, mugs and plaques. Love is patient, kind, and doesn't boast. It isn't proud, rude, or resentful. It certainly, as the Word explains, isn't easily provoked. The true characteristics of love, according to scripture, are many. Love isn't difficult to identify because it rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes, hopes, and endures all things, and never fails. Love is the engine behind us, making our gifts, service, and actions useful for the Master.
After a long and tiring day, I was spent. The baby had been crying all day with teething pains. After housework, cooking, and homework, I was exhausted. My middle son, who's eight, came in the room for the fourth time after he'd been told to go to bed. I had just shut the bedroom door, ready for a break.
"Mom," he said carefully.
"Can you come tuck me in?"
"I thought Dad just read you a devotion."
"He did--sorry, Mom." With slumped shoulders, he walked away defeated.
All I could think of was that he was trying to find reasons not to go to sleep, which was probably the case. However, I went in his bedroom, briskly tucking him in the bed. With little patience and much irritation, I kissed him on the forehead and said goodnight.
After I got ready for bed myself, I felt guilty but at first I didn't even know why. I had done everything I was supposed to do, right? As I meditated on I Corinthians 13, I realized that while I had done the right actions, they weren't done with love, which made them fruitless. My son hadn't truly received what he wanted, which was my comfort and love. Because I hadn't tucked him in lovingly, with patience and kindness, I had lost that moment to demonstrate the love of Christ. This has made me wonder what other opportunities I may have lost getting caught up in myself and the moment, instead of the bigger picture.
Christ wants us to love one another because this, among other things, is what demonstrates His love towards each of us. We must continually examine ourselves, and when we fall short, we must repent, pray, read the Word, and do better. When we love, it's evident in the words we say and the actions we perform, but only if our motives are selfless and pure, directed by God's love.