I absolutely love my children’s art. I love watching it develop, refine, become a clearer and more recognizable image. I love seeing their imaginations guide their crayons across the page to create the next refrigerator-worthy masterpiece. [Although, my oldest has caught on to what happens with last week’s creations once the face of the refrigerator is full… she is not pleased that I have casually trashed her “older” art. So now, she specifically requests that I keep them all… somewhere… heaven help me.]
Recently, my 4 year old was quietly sitting at the kitchen table, coloring to her heart’s content. After quite some time, she came to show me what she had been drawing in her notebook, with the beaming smile of pride on her face. As I looked down at the page, I felt at a loss for words. She had copied 4 words out of her kids’ storybook Bible, without really knowing which words she had chosen. Well, seeing her little 4 year old penmanship displaying “Father, God, Lord, Life” was a sweet and simple reminder of how basic and all-encompassing our relationship with God really is. And it also led me to think of the deep, deep love that the Father has for each of us.
Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8a (NASB)
Love is not a list
To know God, as is so incredibly important and central to walking through life (which we talked about here), is to know His true love. We read about Love again and again from Genesis to Revelation. He tells us what it looks like, what it doesn’t look like, where to find it, and why we need it.
1 Corinthians 13 gives us the great big list of “love is” and “love isn’t”, and these are an excellent thermometer to determine the genuineness of our love. [I was reading this passage with said 4 year old recently, and while I had memorized these verses long ago, they were still living and powerful words to my heart.. as well as to hers. It never gets old!!]
But, these qualities of love, while they appear to give us a wonderful list of to-do’s in our relationships, are actually not meant to be a list to check off when “complete”.
God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16b (NASB)
love is a person
These 13 verses are to teach us about the One who is Love. The God in Heaven – who embodies love; who created love; who gives all love to all mankind. As we learn about His love, and as we embrace His love, that is when love will come from our hearts toward those around us. Why? Because we cannot produce true, genuine love! But Christ can as He lives in us. As His life is manifested in ours, love will flow out. Isn’t that wonderful? That is Grace in action!
focus on knowing love, not doing it
As we focus on just knowing God, we will begin (or continue) to know His love. And as we know His love, we will be able to embrace it fully (I mean, how can we not?? It is just too good to pass up!). And as we embrace His deep, deep love for us, He will be able to bring it out of our lives to our spouses, children, friends, neighbors.. & to the whole world.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. John 15:9 (NASB)
So today, stop trying to love. Stop looking at the “Love Chapter” and working to complete each quality of love. Instead, start getting to know Love. Get to know the One who calls Himself Love. Start embracing love. Start abiding in love. That will change how you love others… because He will do it through you. Just as He always intended to!
Ahh, the sweet freedom of grace. Just another reminder for you to walk in today. Enjoy those everyday moments He’s given you! Get to know Him. Get to know His love.