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Sentimental gush

9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 MSG)

Sentimental gush - that is what I kind of feel when I watch some of those sappy "and they lived happily after" love stories. Yes, I believe people can "be in love" and that "love will find a way" and all those other cliches about love. Don't think I am down on a solidly committed and growing relationship - it is just that our world often portrays love in ways that are totally gushy and then doesn't show the very 'hard' side of that loving being vital and vibrant! In REAL life, the problems are bigger than momentary conflict that can all be solved within a two hour time frame! In real life, love engages all of our senses, begins with our laying down of self, and grows only to the degree that we allow the love of God to shine through us!

To 'love well', one must constantly 'go to the well' - the well of God's grace. Love requires we overlook some stuff at times, knowing when it is time to bring things up and when it is not. It insists not upon the choices of one, but on the melding of 'rights' until both are less concerned about what they 'get out' of the relationship and more concerned with what they 'put into it'. Love engages the senses, but it is also sensible, not relying upon the emotional 'senses' as the primary guide that stimulates action. The love of Christ overshadows our lives, not to hold us back in loving each other, but to provide a protective covering under which we can learn to love 'perfectly'.

Use your head and test your feelings - oh, how frequently these things are not done in unison, but one overrides the other! Either our head gets the best of us and we over-think the issues at hand, so much that the issues get bigger and bigger and bigger until they are 'out of control' as far as we are concerned; or our feelings take over and we get all twitter-pated about stuff we otherwise would have left alone. If we could just get these two to function well together, maybe the quality of our love for each other would be a little more 'Christ-like'. Our minds would be aligned with his and we'd see things in a dimension unlike any other dimension we had considered previously. Our feelings wouldn't be the primary driver in our lives - they'd be under the control of the leadership of the Holy Spirit and we'd be less likely to be following them down a road to trouble or discontent.

Lest you think I am 'down' on love, I am not. I am really most concerned that we learn to love well - as Christ loves us. We have some pretty 'messed up' examples of love when all we consider is what we see in media today, so maybe we'd do well to consider a different example of love and consider Christ just a little more closely. Just sayin!

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