THE ABIDING LIFE
Lessons in Love
By Gwen Sellers
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Continued from Page One
First, it's unfair even from a worldly perspective; these other people love me well. They treat me with great care and as someone who is lovable. God has provided several friends and family members that image His love and demonstrate the worth He has bestowed on me. Honestly, sometimes it surprises me. These people expose the old lies I've believed and tangibly remind me of the truth of God. But, from a godly perspective, regardless of how others treat me, I should be loving them with His love. God loved us while we were still sinners, while we actually deserved the exact opposite of love (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:19). God commands us to love others (John 13:34-35) and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31). As I begin to accept love from other people — not the leftover kind or the earned kind but the kind that affirms my worth — I realize I really like it. And I want to value them just as much.
Practically speaking, what is there to lose in loving others? We don't love just because God commands us to, but because that is the natural response of being well loved. When I am fully accepting God's love for me and fully trusting Him with my heart, the only thing to do is give it away. If I actually trust God, then I'm not so wrapped up in controlling my own life. And when I'm not so distracted by control, I don't need to self-protect. And when I'm not self-protecting, I can lean into God and follow Him. I can discover who He's made me to be and revel in who He is. I can get filled up on His love. And when my heart is that full and that free, loving others is going to be a result.
Even more than that, when I really understand who I am to God, I can begin to see who others are to Him as well. God's love is so deep and intentional, and yet also expansive. When one of us has had a particularly good day or something has gone our way, my family sometimes jokes that "I'm God's favorite." The thing is, we're all God's favorite. I am of inestimable worth. So are you. God looks at you and sees a beautiful masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We may be a bit marred — as one pastor illustrated it, like a Rembrandt painting covered in mud in the process of being restored — but we're made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We are intricately woven together and planned on well before our birth (Psalm 139). God is completing us and making us fully into His likeness (Romans 8:29). When I see other people, I should be in awe of the God who created them and therefore I should be delicate with them. If others really are a masterpiece, I should be treating them with care and respect.
Admittedly, this is more of a realization than a consistent practice as yet. But I am praying that as God continues to show and remind me of His love, sovereignty, and trustworthiness, that I'll not only more easily receive love, but that I'll more easily love. As I give my heart more fully over to the only One who can truly protect and nurture it, I'm praying He'll take me on another wild adventure in which love gets real. It will be messy. It will be surprising. It will feel wonderful and right. It will feel scary. It will hurt. But it will be worth it, because He'll be there, unveiling the masterpiece with His perfect craftsmanship and inexhaustible love.
Tags: Christian-Life | Health-Wellness | Personal-Life | Personal-Relationships
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Published on 7-17-2014