‘Love’ is a word thrown around among our varied affections. We love coffee. We love our pet. We love God. We love our children. We love a pretty sunset. We love chocolate. Though we haphazardly use the word ‘love,’ how easy it is for us to miss its true meaning. Compare what’s on our lips in conversation to the love Paul is describing:
“The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love — love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence.” [I Timothy 1:5-7 Message] Ouch!
Nothing crosses our wills like releasing agape love ~ that which costs us dearly…severely…unselfishly…and oh-so-painfully. The Spirit’s expression of true love digs deep into the soul and begs for more than we can humanly offer. It plummets deep into the transformed soul that houses the Divine and calls it up in the midst of darkness all around. It’s God’s finest moment, though it’s our most soul-wrenching.
Jesus said to “take up your cross daily.” A continuing crucifixion of our selfishness…and, as predicted, at those very moments when we want to close off from the world and self-protect.
Paul wrote: “Stay right there on top of things so that the teaching stays on track. Apparently some people have been introducing fantasy stories and fanciful family trees that digress into silliness instead of pulling the people back into the center, deepening faith and obedience.” [1:4]
Was he looking into our windows over these past several days as we gathered as family and friends? Did the Spirit of God find authentic, self-less love? Lord, can we have a do-over, please?