Skip to main content

The sticking point

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. (I Corinthians 13:3-7)

Love is tough business - even under the "best" of circumstances. In fact, I think it is one of the toughest things for us to receive and even harder for us to give away - that is, when we do it well! Many times, we "love", but it is definitely not "well". We have all those strings attached, kind of doing our own thing, but never really investing in each other as we should. In the roughest spots, it is put to the test, and we sometimes don't come out smelling so pretty, do we? In order to love as God tells us to love, we might have to change the way we have been doing this 'love one another' thing to align with what he reminds us love actually is and is not. Does it surprise you the list begins with "never giving up"? This is where it begins - with commitment. In fact, anything worth having and keeping in life is based on the commitment we make to it. So, what better place to begin than with our commitment? The other stuff that comes after this is really the evidence of our commitment! Love doesn't hide behind some false facade. It is real, genuine to the core. If we want to understand what love is, we have to get real with ourselves, others, and especially God.

Ever use guilt as a "tactic" to get someone to do something? We have all probably done it at one time or another. Whenever we "use" guilt as a means of "getting what we want", we are really saying to the other person, "I matter more than you do", or maybe we are saying, "I want to control everything". Either way, WE are at the center of the universe! Guess what? God is the only one who deserves that honor! Commitment begins by being real, getting heart/mind/body in right order, and coming under the authority of Christ in our lives. When that occurs - there is no room for us to be in control or to manipulate anyone (even God) to get our own way. We have all heard it said, "Love is patient". Now, try acting that out in real life! It isn't always easy to be patient when another is being over-demanding, acting ridiculous, or just plain mean, is it? Nope, in fact if we were truthful on this one, we want to beat them silly at times! Guess what? Patience is our problem - not theirs! We get "impatient" whenever we expect another to perform the way we imagine they will. God brings the other person to the place they should be - not me! It has been a tough thing to learn, but once I finally got this straight in my mind, I actually stopped being so impatient with others.

When we are in competition with another, we seldom operate in the realm of kindness! Thinking back to the last time you were operating in anything less than true kindness, what would you say was at the root of your "unkindness"? In most cases, it was because we didn't "win". All of life is sort of based on some sort of "win" or "lose" competition, isn't it? I giggle at drivers who edge up to my bumper, narrowly squeezing between my car and the one beside me, then zoom to cut in front of me, only to find themselves sitting directly in front of me at the stoplight! All they have to show for their "competition" is being first to stop! Fear and the losing of control leads to a whole lot of competition. Whenever we want to win so badly, we usually move into a position of not caring about another's well-being. 

If we get our commitment right - recognizing God is in control of the other person - and then begin to focus on the other person as we should, we find ourselves being a whole lot less "self-attentive". All of these characteristics are really the result of being overly "self-attentive" or "self-focused". Add not being easily angered and you have a full "package deal" of getting your eyes off self and onto another. Anger gets its start in some "right" of ours being "violated". If we lay down our "rights" at the feet of Jesus, we find we demand a whole lot less of others and rely upon what it is he will bring into the relationship. Love doesn't quit and it operates in maturity. Is not quitting the same as commitment? Not really. Commitment is the starting point - the "sticking" point is when we determine to not be swayed by our emotions, learning to rely upon the maturity Christ gives us through time in his Word and at his feet. Issues will come up anytime there is a relationship between two people - learning to stop focusing on the issues and keeping our focus on Christ is really evidence of the determination to never quit! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,