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)
Have you ever been on a telephone call with someone and at the end of the conversation you find yourself proclaiming "Love ya" just before you hang up? That may not be all that bad if it is a family member, a close friend, or even a life-long close relationship - but when it is your boss, the IT guy fixing your computer tech issues, or the like . . . that is a little awkward! It is like you say it - totally unthinking - then your eyes pop open in horror at that very moment those words escape your mouth and you know you just slipped up royally. It isn't that you don't appreciate the meaning of the words - it might just be that they have become a little too 'rote' in your vocabulary.
When I say "I love you" to you, do the words mean all that much? Not likely - it is more the actions that demonstrate that love that make the most difference. Does that mean we can be cavalier with this phrase? Absolutely not! I really don't like the term 'falling in love' because we never just 'fall into' love - it is a condition of heart that is worked out in the trenches of living life together with someone. Jesus came to this earth to demonstrate perfect love - not just to tell us he loved us - but to 'demonstrate' that love. After all, isn't a demonstration worth a thousand words? If we are to be true followers of Christ, we are to demonstrate his love - not merely speak forth salutations and greetings proclaiming we love the world.
Let our love be sincere and intelligent. At first, those two may seem a little like they are at opposite ends of the pole, but they aren't really. Sincere suggests our heart's actions are free of hypocrisy - the words match the actions. Intelligent suggests we are quick to comprehend and understand - observing the needs of others and then knowing how to respond to those needs. Put those two ideas together and you have a pretty powerful 'love expression'! It is this type of 'love' that helps us be bountiful in our expressions of love - not in giving gifts, but in meeting needs of others in just the right way.
We may not really mean "I love you" every time we speak it, but I bet others can see the "I love you" whenever we demonstrate our love in our actions! Just sayin!
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