Ephesians 4:14-16 (MSG) 14 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. 15 God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. 16 He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
What a strong word to all of us who are believers. We are told repeatedly that we are to love one another and by loving one another, others will be won to Christ. By loving one another…we ourselves change.
Still…it isn’t a love that comes easy or naturally. It isn’t superficial in any way. Learning to love takes a lifelong commitment to “learning by doing”.
My daughter and I are taking photo lessons. What a challenge! We have taken pictures for years…have developed a pretty good eye. We have used every automatic setting available to us and therefore we know nothing about how to really use our camera when we get into a situation that has odd shadows or the light is too bright. We do the best we can and hope for a decent result.
As believers, is that what we are doing? Are we doing the best we can and hoping for a decent result? Are we floundering instead of growing up? Are we doing little to practice love when we get into a difficult situation? Are we learning from each situation and applying it to the next or are we just living life on automatic and hoping for a decent result?
Our world has a faulty picture of God and of love. Not too many have experienced the kind of love that only God can give. Our lives…our dedicated and set-apart lives are the only way for others to get a snapshot of what life should actually look like. If the picture of my life…of yours…is mediocre…how will those in our sphere ever have the desire for the God we say has the answers?
We have to grow up! We have to take on the disciplines and stop emulating the world and excusing ourselves on a daily basis. Love is hard…it takes dedication and hands-on practice. We cannot go on living life on automatic and hoping for a decent result!
It is our assignment to love with our actions, our lives. But in order to love authentically and experientially we really must…
1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG) 3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. 4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, 5 Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 6 Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 7 Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.