Friday, February 7, 2014

What Love Is This?

February. Hearts, cupids, and valentines come to mind. The month known as the month of love. Ah, love.

But what is love? What does love look like in action? How does it come alive? Truly......

"The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."
Leviticus 19:34

Is it butterflies in the stomach, ballroom dances, batting eyelashes, and beating hearts intertwined? Is is caring cards, caressing cupids, sugary sweeties, and fragrant flowers? Is it diamonds or pearls wrapped in ribbons tied in pretty bows?

Or is it an aching heart that longs for unconditional acceptance, approval and affirmation. A heart that is reaching out to others wantingly waiting to give love and to be loved in return just because.... Because of the beauty that lies waiting there. In relationship. In closeness and emotional intimacy. A spiritual, not of this world, connection.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5

A heart not aching for what is expected or received but for what beauty a union in sacrifice can bring.  Sacrificing wants, hopes, dreams for the sake of another's wants, hopes, and dreams. Sacrificing alone for togetherness. Sacrificing taking for giving. Sacrificing 'me' for 'you' or 'us.'

Love is the grace that abounds in the midst of mistakes. The forgiveness that follows grace and flows like a babbling brook meandering endlessly and noisily so that none can mistake its journey of restoration and rest. The transparency that comes from knowing revelation of the depths of the soul, the light and the dark, and transmitting and accepting love all the while. Sacrificing time and energy spent elsewhere on something else to give the gift of time to someone who is feeling lost, in the midst of losing, in the thick of needing. The unconditional that runs too deep for words. The love that leaves you speechless.

Being a shoulder, the hands and feet, the heart that helps the healing begin. A tool, a vehicle of love carried and conveyed without out boundaries and borders. Without conditions. Giving without being asked. Extending without expecting.

The sacrifice of self, of wants and desires, in the face of uncertainty. Letting go of agenda to empathize, trying to understand rather than imposing feelings of being misunderstood. Doing what is painful, difficult even when it seems undeserved. Without walls built and gates closed. The only guard posted is protecting love outpoured. Doing the right thing even when it hurts.  Even when it feels wrong. Even when it is undeserved.

The giving rather than the getting. The loving rather than losing. The surrender rather than saving. The sacrifice rather than the selfishness.  The pride swallowed.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

The beauty. Hearts that collide in seeking to become one flesh in relationship. Enraptured with grace, forgiveness, sacrifice, giving, yielding and the peace and beauty that comes from the overcoming of loving in this way.

True love is not of this world. Not of the flesh but born of the Spirit.

It is rest for the weary, water for the thirsty, food for the soul.

Love. This is love. It is pure. It is simple. It is sacrifice of self unconditionally.

Our gracious God gives it to us freely and unashamedly.  He gives it to us in abundance so we can freely give it to others. No matter what the circumstance.

Sacrifice. Of self. For others and for Him.

"Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;..." Deuteronomy 7:9

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven... "
Matthew 5:43-45

Rest. In His arms. Let others rest in yours.

"And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
Deuteronomy 30:6

Freedom. To love unconditional as He does with us. No agenda. No self. No shame.

"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Perfect Love.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34

The Humbled and Exalted Christ.

 "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."

 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:1-11 

Amazing Love.

Born of Spirit rather than flesh.

Accept no other.

Know it well.

 Give it freely.