Hi, friend! I don’t know about you, but I am ALWAYS looking forward to new music on Fridays. As a former (and current, who are we kidding) Belieber, I was so excited to hear Justin’s new music yesterday. I’m listening to it right now – I know you must be SHOCKED. And honestly, although it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a relationship, this song makes me want to fall in love again. I mean, how can it not?
But then I stopped myself to really think… And the truth is, I am in love. Not worldly love. Capital L, Biblical L O V E.
This time of year is usually the transition from hot girl summer to cuffing season. And to be honest, who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with cute apple picking dates, spooky movies to snuggle to, a fire to keep you warm, and long drives to nowhere in particular when the leaves start to change. However, with the opportunity to spend extended time with myself and my Creator these past seven months, I’ve learned quite a bit, so I’m going to share some of it with you!
- I can only love my neighbor as much as I am loving myself.
You might be thinking, ummmm DUH, Nadine! I do not mean prideful, thinking I’m the greatest thing to ever grace this earth, because I know I am far from that. I mean taking the time to understand what love even is. Who defines love? How am I defining love? How am I loving myself based off of my definition of love? How can I love others better? Why do we love?
We know that Jesus tells us that the second commandment after loving our God with all that we are, we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We ~cannot~ begin to love others as we called to unless we first understand Who defines love is the One that created it. Which leads me into my second point…
2. Love is not defined by rom-coms or the Kardashians.
Again, pretty self explanatory. As believers, we know that God’s Love is everlasting and unconditional. We know that God sacrificed His Son so that we may enter into His Love. I don’t think we truly understand what eternity means. At least, I know my head hurts when I actually try to envision it. The closest thing I’ve experienced to Biblical Love in this lifetime has been from my parents and even they are human. God’s love is defined over and over again in the Bible, and the most quoted verses when it comes to His Love is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. Culture will tell us we need to look or act a certain way to receive Love, and that is just not true. God made each of us in His Perfect image. We just need to believe in Him and let Him define Love for us to truly walk in it.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV)
3. If it failed, it wasn’t Love.
In my opinion, this is where we get it wrong a lot of the time. We look to things of this earth to fill the Love that we are meant to receive only from our Maker. One of my favorite books is “How’s Your Soul” by Judah Smith, and in this book he reminds us that Love bears, endures, hopes, and believes all things. Love in the context of God. Not in the context of others. While we were meant to be in relationship with one another, we were first created to be in relationship with God. This is why He sacrificed Jesus, so that we may experience the fullness of His Love for us. It’s such a tweetable phrase, isn’t it? “Love never fails. So if it failed, it wasn’t love.” But it’s taking this verse out of context. Whatever “it” is, whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, is surely going to fail if God and His Love are not at the center of it. So in this case, yes. If it fails, it wasn’t love, at least not God’s Love.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4: 7-12 (NIV)
4. If you are not ready to serve, you are not ready to be in a relationship.
We are called to be servants of Jesus, which means we are called to be servants to all of His children. As we already know, Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, and another incredible passage of scripture that captures God’s Love for you and me is 1 John 4: 7-12. We are called to sacrifice a lot in a relationship: time, money, interests, etc. Let’s say your significant other wants to watch the new John Sparks movie (not me, wrong girl…), but you really want to play the new Madden game. I know we both know who’s going to win this battle, and it’s not you, bud. A small, insignificant example, but think about it! If you’re not willing to surrender the smaller things, what’s going to happen when you have a real test of your relationship like when one or both of you is unemployed due to maybe a pandemic, or when her mom wants to spend this Christmas with you instead of staying home. And then down the line, maybe add children into this mix… Yea, you’re going to have VERY limited free time, or so I hear. Yet, with sacrifice, we know there is joy. When we truly Love others, those sacrifices seem insignificant no matter the cost because we see joy on the faces of those we Love. And this goes back to my first point: if you’re not spending time pouring into your own relationship with God, you won’t have the Strength to Love others.
5. If we want our love to last, we need to love with a capital L.
Back to the beginning of this post, I brought up Justin’s newest song. I think it’s easy to get lost in the melody. It’s beautiful. The serotonin I get from this song, is ~absolutely~ incredible. I feel peaceful. As we know, Love is created and defined by God. Our romantic and platonic relationships are mean to mimic God’s Love for us. We know that this world cannot compare to Heaven. I know a lot of our hearts are hurting in this season, but if you look for it, I’m sure you’ll be able to find Joy in any situation (Philippians 4:13). God wants us to be in relationship with one another, platonic or otherwise, because Love is not defined by rom-coms. His Love is everlasting and the Bible is the greatest Love story ever written. And it’s still alive today. When our lives are centered around God, the rest of our relationships will mirror it.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”Revelation 1: 8 (NIV)
6. Try as we may, God’s timing can’t be rushed.
I know there is so much pressure to be married by 25 and have your first kid by at least 28. But here’s the thing, God allowed Sarah to have a child in her old age and Mary as a virgin. While you and I are not people in the Bible, our God is still the same. Who are we to limit God’s power? the Bible is the living Word, which means that it is still applicable today. And I don’t know about you, but I have been ~clinging~ to its truths in this time especially. When we rush things, we lose faith that God has it all worked out for the Good (Romans 8:28). When we rush things, we allow the enemy to send counterfeit copies of God’s Perfect Will. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of heartbreak and disappoint that I find in the world. I am surrendering this to God.
7. Surrender it to God.
It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the world. I do it time and time again. I have to physically remind myself that I was created to bring Glory to God. I do this by strengthening my relationship with Him (Jeremiah 29:13) and learning to Love like Jesus. That is the focus of my life right now. The habits and content that we allow to consume our lives will build our futures, for better or for worse. Am I going to be intention with the way I Love God, Love myself, and Love others? What is my motivation? What is the goal? While it is a desire of my heart to be in a God-ordained, God-glorifying, God-centered relationship, I don’t know if that’s in His Plan. And, I’m learning to be okay with that. It’s not easy, but when I go back to these questions, I remember that my Purpose is to bring His Kingdom down to earth by Loving others the way I Love myself, and Loving God over all else. He is the source of my Joy. I hope He becomes yours, too.
I pray that today is the day you choose to start walking in Love.
Keep picking those daisies!