I was reading 1 John last week and this verse stuck out to me:
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us
and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:12
Have you been working on loving well? Since Matthew has cast the vision to LCC to love well this year, it has been on my heart and mind. And wow, loving well can be difficult! The more we talk about it, the more it seems like God provides us opportunities to show love. By “opportunities,” I mean that we have interactions with difficult people who we don’t necessarily want to love at all! Loving well includes being purposed to keep a soft heart toward people even when we feel wronged, aggravated, or frustrated with them. That is tough and not always fun to do. But that verse I started off with, that verse puts some things in their place. You see, I need God to abide in me. I need His Holy Spirit in my life at all times. I know myself, and I am unable to function if I don’t have the Holy Spirit living inside of me. John 16:13 says the Spirit will guide us in all truth. I need that! So I need to love others and love them well. When I do that, God abides in me, and His love is shown in the way it was designed. Let me be clear, God doesn’t need me to be able to show His love; He is fully capable. But this is a way that He has chosen for His love to be visible to others. When we walk in obedience and love others with a pure heart, God is lifted up and praised. The opposite is true as well. When we choose to not love well, God isn’t lifted up and praised. As Christians, we are God’s reflection to this world. We are the tools that He has chosen to use to reach others. We have to take that responsibility seriously, and it begins with loving others well.
Here are some things I’m working on doing in order to love well:
*Being purposed to catch myself when I am starting to “badmouth” someone, either in my mind or in the words that come out of my mouth.
*Being aware of the people around me when I am out in the world. A smile, a kind word, patience – these all go a long way in showing love.
*Putting myself in other’s shoes.
*Thinking about others before myself.
*Caring for the people in my life with a loving heart instead of a grumpy heart.
*Sending texts, calling, reaching out to the people God has placed in my life…investing in them.
I’m not doing all of these well (or some of them at all yet!) but I’m trying. What is God calling you to do in order to love well? I encourage you to take some time to think about it this week and to start the process. Let’s be the tools that God has planned to use to reach others in this world. Let’s start by loving well!