Growing and Vibrant - Oh, my!

How does love blossom and mature? Perhaps it grows through time spent together, doing the little things that make the moments special. It might also be the pursuit of things important to the other person, considering their wants and needs above your own, and laying down your life for theirs. Spending time together is a whole lot easier than this idea of considering another's needs above our own, or being sacrificial in our time, energies, or talents. Yet, the more closely we allow love to be based on the pursuit of things important to the other person, learning to consider their needs above your own, and giving out of our lives in a sacrificial manner, the closer we are coming to emulating the love Jesus has for his children!

I pray that your love will keep on growing and that you will fully know and understand how to make the right choices. Then you will still be pure and innocent when Christ returns. And until that day, Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

Love is a HUGE growth opportunity - you don't just wake up one morning with the determination in your mind that "today I will love someone deeply and with a lasting permanence in that love". Little by little, as time is spent together with another, we develop an "affinity" toward the other person. In a little more time, we actually develop some kind of desire to see the other person blessed and happy. We want what is best in the relationship - pursuing things which bring unity and a sense of "cohesiveness" in the relationship. For those who are following Jesus, love begins at the point of grace - unmerited favor extended into our lives. As time passes, we grow closer to him by spending time with him. In those moments together, there is a changing of the guard of our hearts. The desire to be "in control" and pursuing only what is important to us seems to change - we begin to experience what it is like to pursue the things important to him - those things which bring him honor and praise.

Our choices become apparent - those which are selfish and primarily produce outcomes which only benefit us will be exposed; those which begin to reveal the heart of God to others will also come to the surface. Our choices begin to be refined. I know not all of us have been blessed to have a positive earthly example with respect to love, but this is what God had in mind before sin got the best of our human race! In the family of God, we are to see the right choices modeled. He sent us Jesus, who took on human form - to model for us the right choices we are to make when we commit to this love relationship. Flawed earthly examples could not model his love in quite the same manner.

To fully know and then to actually walk in the right choices is a process. It comes by watching - no, more like studying the behavior of another - Jesus. The more we behold his example, the more we begin to emulate his behavior. His life stands as a testimony of the power of living a pure life. His example points us toward love like we have never experienced before. His modeled behavior directs us to the place of obedience over and over again, until obedience becomes "second nature" to us. It is no longer hard to produce the right outcomes because they have become part of who we are. This is love, growing and vibrant, indeed. Just sayin!

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