Today we continue in our 14 day journey into 'loving intentionally.'
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 has shown us thus far that Love is... Patient and Kind
But it mostly has shown us what it is NOT... It does not Envy or Boast.
Today we will gain another tool that will help direct us in loving others.
I believe that being 'proud' holds the key to the undoing of most relationships. Marriages rise and fall on the couples ability to check their pride at the door. The very act of saying "I'm sorry,""I misunderstood your intentions," "I ......."
Rarely would the finger be pointed at self.
Pride keeps us from asking for help from others. It lies and says 'you can do this on your own' Pride seeks to keep you isolated and void of meaningful relationship.
Pride gives us this inflated view of self. A view that you are superior in some way. You are a better writer, speaker, singer, spouse, mom, dad, Christian, employee. You fill in the blank........
The closer we begin to walk with God the more at risk we become. We are proud of the success and victory that we have had from shedding the lies of Satan and begin to look at others and say "man, if only they would....."
Thoughts like this put us in a position of forgetting who our redeemer is.
1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"
Pride causes us to inflate our values and blinds us of the value we have in God. We feed ourselves with lies such as 'God wants to use me' but in your head what you really are hearing is 'God needs me.'
Galatians 6:3 warns us about this trap, "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself."
He goes on to say in verse 4, "Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."
You see when we are caught up in pride we only use others as a measuring stick. We compare ourselves against the people that we feel aren't as qualified. We compare our gifts, talents and godliness (righteousness) with another. We begin to qualify ourself because of self.
2 Corinthians 10:12, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."
Love that is authentic does not demand that others puff you up.
A few years ago we invited a homeless man over for our Thanksgiving feast. We planned on having around 35 guests and I 'prided' myself on putting on the best dinner. A few days prior to Thanksgiving my son and I drove to remind our friend that we would pick him up Thanksgiving morning.
We talked with Dale and he asked me if he could bring his friend. I knew his friend and quickly replied, "no problem, but...."
Remember I have 40 people coming to my house. I want to make sure that I looked good, so I followed my but with...."make sure he has had nothing to drink."
Dale's friend was an alcoholic and only felt normal when he drank. I wanted to clean him up before I loved him.
Pride stood in the way of 'loving intentionally.' My view of what others would say about me, clouded my view of what God said about him.
When Dale arrived at my home, I asked him where his friend was. With sadness in his eyes he said, "Nicole, he had a drink this morning..." What I heard him say to my heart was... "Nicole, he was unfit to sit at your table. He wasn't clean enough."
Oh Lord, may I never be so full of pride again that I miss an opportunity to love the unclean.
Before you rush to defend my stance on having a drunk man in my home, let me tell you this. My issue with this man coming over wasn't a safety issue... It was a heart issue. The safety of my guests didn't cross my mind. The opinions they would have of me did.
Pride tells you that you are just a little smarter, a little wiser, just a little more qualified.
With the foggy vision of pride, we consider ourselves to be more important or more 'worthy' than another. We tend to view everything God has done for another person and forget what he has done for you.
Pride looks out for #1. It says, "you have suffered way too long in this marriage." "You have earned this job." "You have the ability to draw a crowd." Pride inserts a lot of "you" and hands all of the glory to "I."
May our love look different.
'Loving intentionally' means we must be willing to be in relationship with all kinds of people.
'Loving intentionally' means that you remove all judgement and expectation off of the other person and ask yourself, 'what should my response be?'
Have you been waiting for someone to get all cleaned up before you love them?
Have you been standing in the way of what God wants to do in ministry because you are just a little more qualified then the next guy?
Are you ready to sign on the dotted line because you have waited long enough for the other person to....?
What is your response going to be in regards to pride?
What will your response be to having authentic love void of pride?
Challenge: Spend some time and ask God to search your heart. Ask him to reveal the missed opportunities you have had because pride stood in the way. Confess your pride. Ask for forgiveness and hand it over to God the qualifier of the unqualified.
"Loving intentionally" is a call to personal responsibility in your relationships and daily encounters with others.
Sit back, close your eyes and hear the words to this song.