Love. The word sounds so warm, sweet and wonderful.
Yes, to be the recipient of love feels amazing.
But to be the giver of love…well that can be an entirely different story.
Giving love is oftentimes painful, but oh so rewarding. This giving kind of love is God’s kind of love.
It is opening one’s heart…exposed, risking rejection, but possibly discovering a warm acceptance and embrace.
It is saying, “I welcome you”…knowing that you may not come, but if you do there is a beautiful fellowship to be had.
It is saying, “I love you”…knowing that you may not respond in kind, but if you do there is joy.
It is saying, “I forgive you”…knowing that you may not open up, but if you do there is the balm of restoration.
This kind of love can be painful or can be most rewarding. This kind of love is shown by self-sacrifice, and is caring for others more than caring for yourself.
This kind of love is won in the battle of dying to self…and living to follow and honor God.
Love is the ultimate way to live…and we know deep in our hearts, that love is the only true lasting thing worth pursuing in life.
God showed us this kind of love. We are the blessed recipients of it.
So we can choose…to follow God’s example and love…even when it hurts, or to stay safely at arm’s length from others.
The earthly rewards of love are great, but the eternal rewards so much greater.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
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. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 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. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.