Wuv…er, love is often called the most powerful force in the Universe, and it is, but mostly because God is love (1 John 4:8). But how many of us really have love? How many of us truly know God?
I think the best test given in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Looking at my life, I don’t exhibit love in all of these. Some days, I…ummm…haven’t killed anyone…or stolen anything. Seriously, though, there are days where I’m neither long-suffering nor kind, when I envy and am proud, when I can easily be provoked into thinking evil, and where I’m generally a bit of a turd. In short, I don’t live in love, certainly not every day. And it’s because I don’t walk as closely with God as I can.
One of my best friends has the habit of saying “like” way too often, a habit that I unfortunately picked up when I was working for him several years ago. We spent all day working together and often hung out after hours once a week or more. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you pick up things from each other. Why not then spend time with God and let His love change how I love others?
I am convinced that, though you can experience true love without accepting it, the full acceptance of true love compels you to show love to others. True love is too good and pure and overpowering to keep to yourself. It is, by its very nature, excessive and exuberant.
It is also free for everyone. You cannot fully accept God’s pure love and still hate or still hold grudges.
Thankfully, it’s not a “you have it or you don’t” kind of thing. The Christian walk is a path toward it, one which I am still walking and, sometimes, feel I am just starting on. The good news is I have Someone to walk it with me.