I used to think that the bible was full of rules that you had to stick to, and if you didn't you would feel the wrath of The Almighty. But after years of reading, and rereading the pages, I've realised that the bible is a manual with lovingly written advice on how to get the best out of life. You have to know the heart behind the words to understand the tone, and sentiment, and how it's intended to be received.
I've known the feeling of hurt, guilt, and shame from not heeding those life-giving nuggets of wisdom, and I've also know the freedom from taking them to heart and putting them into practise.
You see, God isn't a dictator, He's a loving Father. He wants the very best for you and I, so He's given us some amazing guidelines on how to try and achieve that.
God is love. That's His DNA. Every decision He makes is in the name of love, and because we are His beloved children He wants us to feel loved, know his love, and to pass it on to those around us.
'To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides' ~ David Viscott
So what is love?
1 Corinthians 13 v 1-8
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
From this passage in Corinthians we can see that love is not just a feeling. Love is a choice. We have to choose to be patient, we have to choose to not keep any records of wrong. We have to choose to always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. Sometimes we won't feel the love, and sometimes we won't feel like choosing to do these things, and these are the time when we have to make that decision to do them anyway.
I've just finished reading a wonderful book by Bob Goff called 'Love Does.'
I had the privilege of hearing Bob talk early last year, and I immediately fell for his charisma and zest for life. Everything Bob does is in the name of love. That's his driving force. It's hard not to be inspired by him, and to be in total awe of him, whilst listening to him share his stories of lavishing love on people. Like the time he instantly forgave the old lady who crashed into his car, and still to this day sends her flowers to help her get over it. Or the time he redirected his town's parade so that his dying neighbour could watch it from her living room window.
Bob's love is not fake, and it's not forced. It makes me wonder if, after choosing love time and time, and time, again, it just becomes part of your DNA. It just becomes who you are.
Bob could be an exception to the rule, but I think he's definitely an example of what can happen when love doesn't just stop at a feeling and is put into action.
So, in this month of 'Love', let's not just think about the feelings we get when we think of that special someone, but rather, let's make choices to pursue those things in 1 Corinthians, and lavish love on the people around us.
Let's spread some love.
In these next two weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, please join me in posting photos on Instagram of our 'lavishing love' moments, using the caption 'Love is....'
Let's have some fun, thinking outside of the box, and be as creative as possible.
On Valentine's Day I will pick my favourite, who will win one of these gorgeous block hearts (pictured above) from our friends at Oh Hello Beau. Remember to tag @be_lovedbeloved in your posts so that I can see them, and I'll even re-share some of my favourites along the way.
And as the famous 'Frankie goes to Hollywood' song says....
"The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
Make love your goal."
Love and be loved,