“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
Our God is a very personal God. He is a relational God. He lives in community, and He designed us to need that community, as well – starting with the fellowship we have through a relationship with Him. But it doesn’t end there – He also created us to need other people. Other Christians. Fellowship and relationships through the local church. Because God uses people.
We need encouragement. We need help. We need hope.
When we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, and broken, we are tempted to isolate. But it’s in those broken moments that we most need each other. We benefit the most from our relationships when it’s the hardest – when we’re most tempted to give up, close up, or shut down. When we’re vulnerable. When we’re scared. When we’re desperate.
The pattern in scripture is that when people (or even the nation of Israel) were desperate, they cried out to God. And God sent a man. God sent a woman. God sent a person. And He used that person to help, encourage, and bring about deliverance, both personally and corporately.
When Adam was alone and needed a helper,
God created Eve.
WHEN DAVID WAS RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE,
GOD GAVE HIM JONATHAN.
When Israel cried out for deliverance in Egypt,
God sent Moses.
1 Corinthians tells us about love, and insert your name. Then ask yourself, is this true of me?
In premarital counseling, it goes further – you insert your fiance’s name, as well, questioning
if he or she is exhibiting that brand of love toward you, as well.
Here’s what mine would look like:
Bethany is patient.
Bethany is kind.
Bethany does not envy.
Bethany does not boast.
Bethany is not proud.
Bethany does not dishonor others.
Bethany is not self-seeking.
Bethany is not easily angered.
Bethany keeps no record of wrongs.
Bethany does not delight in evil.
Bethany rejoices with the truth.
Bethany always protects.
Bethany always trusts.
Bethany always hopes.
Bethany always perseveres.
When I personalize scripture, it makes it much more real, direct, and applicable to my life.
It’s one thing to read about what agape (sacrificial) love looks like; it’s another thing to hold yourself to the standard. As I read through the passage inserting my name, it’s easy to see where I fail and where I need to make adjustments in the way I love the people God has
placed in my life.
they all ran.
All for the same reason.
They ran from the consequences of their sin.
They ran into the arms of sin.
And they left a trail of destruction behind them.
One of the biggest struggles everyone faces is
the challenge to believe God’s love for us. People who are living in rebellion and sin seem to accept easily – why? And then those of who are trying
so hard to live right, honor God, and deepen our relationships with Him — well, it’s the hardest thing ever.
We struggle to believe that…
- God loves me now.
“Even with all the mess I’m going through? Look at me! God can’t love me like this…”
- God loves me after.
“But you don’t know what I’ve done. No one could love me after that.”
- God loves me personally.
“Yes, I know, God loves everyone. He has to. And I believe He does.
But it’s not really about me.”
- God likes me.
“Okay, so God loves me, but that doesn’t mean He likes me. That’s crazy. I know how
it works. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you like them. I can just see Him cringing as soon as I start to pray.”
In a word: passionate.
About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even
iced skinny soy mochas.