Messy, Part 4: Love Does
If you would like to listen to, or read notes from, the rest of the Messy series, click any of the titles below:
Practical opportunities to love others:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” — Matthew 22:34-40, ESV
Love is the summary of the whole law.
Real Love is a Grown-Up Thing
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. — 1 Corinthians 4-11, ESV
It’s interesting how Paul ends this description of love: put away your toys and grow up. Real love is not puppy love or romcom love. Love is a decision before it is an emotion.
Love Does Patience
Since love is a choice, it’s more telling to say, “Love does patience,” rather than, “Love is patient.” It’s not automatic. Real love is hard. We have to choose. Choosing to love means choosing to be patient. Love is preferring someone else’s pace to your own.
God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change. — 2 Peter 3:9, MSG
God is love. — 1 John 4:8
God is patient because God is love.
Love Does Kindness
When we think if “kindness” we tend to picture something quiet, soft, weak, etc. But a better definition of kindness might be, “leveraging one’s strength or resources on behalf of another.” Kindness is love’s response to weakness.
Everyone has something to give. We think, “money,” but it’s mostly not money. Everyone has something to give, which means everyone can be kind. I have—at least—a prayer, an encouraging word, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God is kind because God is love. He leveraged his strength and resources for us. When we were trapped in sin and death, He gave everything to save us.
Just as parents are kind
to their children,
the Lord is kind
to all who worship him,
because he knows
we are made of dust. — Psalm 103:13-14, CEV
Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change. — Romans, 2:4, MSG
The kindness of God moves people toward him.
Love Does Not Envy, Boast, or Do Pride
Envy, boasting, and pride are expressions of insecurity.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. — Romans 12:15, ESV
It’s easy to be sad with others, but it’s harder to rejoice with others sometimes. When someone gets a promotion that you wanted, do you rejoice with them? When another couple gets pregnant as you struggle to do so, can you rejoice with them?
Next level: Can you rejoice with your enemy? You’re called to love your enemy. Can you rejoice with him when he gets a promotion, etc.?
When someone is telling a story about their success, it’s natural to want to tell your story and “one-up” him/her.
Do Love This Week
Who is that person in your life that is difficult to love? How can you be patience and kindness to him/her this week?