L, is for the way you look @ me…

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m at the point in my life where wedding as and engagements are popping up all over the place.  It’s like everyone decided to get married or engaged this year.  This summer alone Emmy Jo and I laugh at all the weddings we either know of, are invited to, or in.  What a fun time!

Along with all the weddings comes all the different styles, choices of music, and differences of each one.  That’s a blast for both of us because we get to kind of re-live our wedding moment.  I feel like every time vows are given I’m reminded of what I stood up and committed to in front of family and friends to Emmy Jo two and a half years ago(where the heck did the time GO!).

But no matter what, amidst all the differences and what not; most weddings have Scripture being read.  It doesn’t matter how committed to Jesus the husband and wife are, there is usually at least a passage read from the Bible.  All in the name of tradition right?  And hands down the most well-known and most commonly used passage in Scripture used at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends”

This verse holds so much beauty in it. Anyone can read that verse and say, “YES! I want someone to love me like this.”  You don’t have to love the Lord, or be a Christian to desire this kind of love given towards you.  We can all agree on that.  If not, your a liar.

I might even go a step further and say that each of us reads verses like this and think “I can give that love to someone.”  If we were honest.  This is the chick flick romantic verse that everyone reads and claims that they will one day have that with their husband or wife, or boy friend/girlfriend.  And I think culture has stripped this verse of its power, of its weight and the struggle of it.  This verse provides a problem for people…

First and foremost, this verse I think isn’t just about the feeling of love.  That love doesn’t necessarily make you feel so “in love” with someone that you naturally become: patient, kind, humble, rejoicing in Truth, enduring, or persevering.  This just isn’t even close to true.  And Scripture doesn’t point to that.  The verse doesn’t read “when you are in love you are patient, you are kind you will not envy,” NO; it reads that TRUE “love IS” these things.  So there is a dilemma here:

Biblically speaking, according to Paul, Love equates to these qualities and characteristics.  These words that the Bible equates to Love are words that aren’t naturally easy.  So right away… Love is hard.  Let’s run with this a little bit.  I would say that in the root of what biblical love is, there is another DEEPER word.  An action.  A lifestyle.  A CHOICE.

To die. John 15:13.

John Piper says it like this, “To love like this is to die. If I am to be like this, something in me must die. My strong craving for a trouble-free life must die. My need for an uninterrupted schedule must die. My demandingness that frustrations and interference get out of my way must die.”

Love is patient and is not irritable.  Nor is it easily provoked.  This type of love is painful.  It hurts because it strips me and you of our individualistic mindset and forces us to be entrenched in a Kingdom mindset.  What I mean by that is this: Let’s take patience. It’s way easier to be patient when the outcome is for my gain.  I love food, and I’m WAY okay with slow cooking something because when I taste it, it will be better!  However, impatience gets us is when our patience directly correlates with nothing of our good, and complete involvement in the good of another.  Think about how you turn into a monster when sitting in traffic.  You turn into Vin Diesel from Fast & Furious cutting everyone off because you don’t care about their good.  You dehumanize the other people; they are objects in the way of YOUR outcome.  Man, I’m guilty of that.

It does not rejoice at wrongdoing.  Sin has no place in the life of a someone who wants to Love.  Rejoicing in wrongdoing means LIVING in wrongdoing.  That must die.  This will be painful because its stripping you of things that might bring you a small satisfaction…

It bears all things, endures all things, perseveres, never ends.  None of those words make loving sound easy.  Actual it makes is sound hard.  Painful even.  To endure means there is opposition.  To bear means there is something you are holding on to keep yourself from.  And last: It. Never. Ends.  A constant, daily, hourly, minutely, secondly choice to die to these things and Love.

These need to die.  To truly love, we must learn how to, train ourselves in, work tirelessly in the concept of dying to flesh and pressing into Love – which means pressing into the Lover.  Paul got it…

“I do not fight like a man beating the air. No! I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached(or loved) to others I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

All of these things will cause pain, turmoil, and tension in your life if you are TRULY loving as the Bible teaches.  Not every time, don’t read that and nit pick my words.  Their is sweet reward for biblical love.  We just must understand what the reward is.  It’s Jesus.  It’s Heaven.  And it’s Joy.  But all three of those things come with suffering more often than not.

After all – let’s really look at this verse from the eyes of the REAL author – God himself.  When God is writing about love, he is writing about himself.  He is love(1 John 4:8).  Therefore, he is just digging into his very nature and being when he walks through outliers of what Biblical love is.  So for us to know what Biblical love is, we must know who God is.  To get our closest picture of what God is we look at the manifestation of God himself, the image of God himself(Colossians 1:15): Jesus.

Jesus embodied Love by dying.

You see it comes full circle.  Starting from God.  Exemplifying his very being through the Son.  Dying as an incredible act of reconciling Love.  Then the Holy Spirit qualifies and calls a believer to initiate this love into the world as a testimony on God’s behalf(1 Corinthians 5:16-21).

So this verse is heavier than I think people use it at times…or even most the time.  To Love like the Bible says is to understand that it will cause us to die.  Dying to the things and the desires of our self.  Dying to the weak kind of emotive love that will fade. It will I promise.  And standing up to press into the one who actually gives us all ability to Love, the Holy Spirit, and Love like Jesus did.  So PLEASE, use this verse in your weddings!  But sit under the weight of what the Truth says.  Rejoice in the Truth.

And here in lies the problem…I am the worst at this.  Praise God for grace that not only saves lost sinners, but sustains wayward sons.

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