Are you beginning to feel the weightiness of what it means to love?
I liked our first two days of love! I like how being patient and kind make me feel. The last three days have revealed to me what love isn't... 1 Corinthians 13, has given me some pretty huge areas in my life that I need to evaluate.
When I have to evaluate who I am and how I am perceived by others I naturally want to protect myself and justify why I have behaved the way I have in the past. I want to make excuses and draw attention away from me and give just cause for my self seeking, self preservation and ungodly way I have loved. I tend to rationalize in my head why I am selfish.
I say things like.....
'I have to put up walls because that person has.....'
'If people really saw what a liar and a cheat they are... they would do the same thing.'
'I know the real ..... they put on a good show, but they are full of it.'
Oh, how I justify my behavior for not loving.
Day 6 nails me to the wall. Love is not self-seeking!
Yesterday I felt overwhelmed and annoyed by the behavior of people I am supposed to love. I was annoyed and hurt by their decisions... their responses... them!
I tried to justify my stance on why I felt the way I did...
I went upstairs to try and process why I was feeling so hurt. I shared my heart with Tim (my husband). I asked him why I always let these things get to me? His response went something like this....
'Nicole, you have to learn to accept people for who they are and realize that they are not going to change just because you want them too.'
"But...... But...... "
No but can justify my inability to love.
Last night I tried to process why I felt the way I felt. I began to realize that I place expectations on people for things that they never desire for their own lives. In my pursuit to see God show up in their life, I place demands that don't reflect the heart of God.
I forget God's character and the way He loves us. He pursues but waits on us to chose His best. He draws us in but waits for our response to His voice. He never bullies or forces His hand.
Oh, how I wish that was my character. My desires for my friends and family often are void of the character of God. I am often impatient and pushy, demanding and rigid.
You see, the demands we place on people often reflect our heart and not God's.
We place expectations on people that they were never meant to fulfill. We begin to want things for people that they don't want.
When we remove expectations from people we are free to "love" them right where they are.
Love is not about our feelings.... it is not a way to manipulate or think of clever ways of getting what we want. It stops saying 'woe is me' and begins to say 'it isn't always about me.'
Self-seeking behavior is always trying to find an angle to get one more thing, one more handout, one more 'I'm sorry you were treated that way.'
It tells the story of you and your needs over and over and over again.
2 Corinthians 5:15 tells us, 'He died for all , that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."
Selfless behavior is thinking of others.
When we are prone to being selfish (and we all are) we tend to surround ourselves with people who tell us what we want to hear and puff up our needs and desires. We constantly search for affirmation and approval in hopes of justifying our position and selfish behavior.
After all we've earned it!!!
We deserve it!
How do we begin to take on the character of God?
GOD IS LOVE!!!
He shows us the way....
He wasn't afraid to wash others feet.
He wasn't selfish.
He didn't manipulate others to get the desired result that he wanted.
He made himself nothing.... and submitted even to the point of death.
He showed us the way... He didn't do what others wanted just to please them... He didn't love only when others told him what he wanted to hear.
He loved even when he it was uncomfortable.
He was not liked.....
He was not liked because of the way he loved.
He loved without limits, without social boundaries, without expectations. He went beyond his will and sought the will of his father. He touched the leper, let the tears of the prostitute touch his feet, he stayed in the home of the tax collector. He sought after the heart of his father to the point of loving others to death.
Are you willing to remove expectations from others?
Are you willing to give up your comfort in order to offer a better life for someone else.
Are you willing to serve 'the least of these?'
Are you willing to not have 'everything' so that someone else will see Jesus in you.
Challenge: How could you love differently?
Is there someone that you have placed expectations on? Is there someone you feel disappointed in because they didn't meet a need that you had?
Today I encourage you to release your desires to the will of God. Since God is love... love the way he loved. Free that person from your expectations and begin to patiently wait for God to continually make His face known to them.
Say their name out loud. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Let their name serve as a reminder of God's grace in your life. Begin to model love that doesn't seek the best for self but instead models God's best for others.
Listen to For King and Country sing this song.....