The LOVE Challenge
In the month of February we often reflect on love and what it means to love. As Christians we take this time to consider what it means to be loved by God and to love Him. Today’s post was written by author of Clay Jar Cracked and HOPE mom Cortney Donelson. Read along as Cortney explores the meaning of love.
I love chocolate.
I love the beach.
I love good reads.
So, how can I truly understand the POWER, the GRACE, and the STRENGTH behind the words God loves me if I “love” a good book or movie?
The world around us paints a picture of love that we seem to have accepted. In fact, we use the word “love” to describe just about anything we remotely like. Some of us love recess. Others love to sleep. We love the Panthers! (Well, yes of course we do!) But, do we really LOVE them? Are we patient if they lose? Are we kind when they fumble the ball away? Do we strive to meet the needs of each player out of our love for them? Probably not… After all, most of us haven’t even met a single player.
We all have needs, no matter who we are or which football team we root for. ☺ There are physical needs – food, water, air, and shelter. There are spiritual needs – grace, prayer (communication with our Heavenly Father), and salvation (eternity with God). We all have emotional needs too. In fact, there are a lot of emotional needs according to some pretty famous “love experts.”
A few include:
- Attention (Will you listen when I want to tell you something?)
- Acceptance (Do you love me even when I mess up?)
- Respect (Am I worth honoring?)
- Support (Will you gently help me when I need it?)
- Encouragement (Will you cheer for me?)
When we try to meet these needs for others, we do so out of our love for them. When we are successful in meeting their needs, they feel loved. Of course, Jesus is the only One who can meet our spiritual needs.
God doesn’t simply like us or enjoy us when we’re doing well. He loves us always. He is the only One able to meet all our needs. And, we are able to love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) So, the “love economy” goes like this:
God loves us.
We love God.
Then, we’re able to love our families.
We’re able to love our friends.
And, if we’re allowing God’s spirit to invade us and pour out of us, we should love all others too – no matter how difficult it is. In fact, it’s part of the Great Commandment, right? (Matthew 22:37-39)
You see, love doesn’t really describe how we should feel about something we really like, such as camping or playing the guitar. It describes the deep feeling God has for us, and that deep intimacy can be felt for others through us. We must love everyone with Christ’s love!
Here’s something else … I wouldn’t normally use the word love to describe the things I don’t enjoy – like doing chores for instance! However, I should love the person who is not always kind to me. It’s very confusing since the world around us keeps using the word love in a different way than the Bible typically uses it. Loving in this way – when it’s hard – shows others we are Christ-followers.
So, for the week of Valentine’s (the time when we celebrate true love), I propose a challenge for our families. Every time we say, write, or hear the word “love,” let’s decide in our own minds if we really mean LOVE.
Do we want to use this word that holds so much weight that it’s often used to replace God’s very name? God is Love. (1 John 4:8) Or, would it make more sense to say we “like” or “enjoy” something? And, are we striving to love those who are sometimes difficult to love? If we do, I know God smiles.
Perhaps this will inspire families to talk about how each member feels love from the others. It’s a great way to connect on a deeper level. Enjoy!
Leave a comment letting us know what love means to you and how this challenge inspires your family. We can’t wait to hear how God’s love impacts you.