"Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Love is all over the place. Advertised on t-shirts and school notebooks, trendy wall art, and silk screened sweatpants. Colorfully inked on greeting cards and tattoos, penned in a plethora of magazines and on high top tennis shoes. I own more than a few things with thisworld-renowned word, yet, I am beginning to realize just how little I know of True Love. Too often exploited, underrated and confused, the word "love" comes in allshapes and styles, designs "Just for you". I've always craved more love in my life,-- who doesn't?-- so I saturated my environment with an air freshener calledLOVE.
Love notes, Love songs, Love plaques, Love stories, Love emblems, and the Love list goes on... More than ever, I am beginning to see, through many surface attempts, to grasp True Love, I must know the love of God.I must know Jesus. I've begun a journey into the deep layers of this mysterious love, basking in His affectionate Scriptures, praying and waiting to discover God's invaluable treasure. As I ponder Love's descriptive list, the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23*, I immediately recognize the Spirit's sweetness of godly tenderness to be one of my greatest lack in terms of Love's collection of righteous attributes. So, I began to ask God for more gentleness. I was a very sensitive little girl. I am a sensitive grown woman. In this, I have always longed to be loved with T.L.C. (Tender Loving Care). As a child, I was loved with care. Fresh home-cooked meals where grace were said, family gatherings and laughter, clean sheets on beds. Thankfully yes, I was cared for, my needs sacrificially met. But, something was missing, something replaced. During hard times -- more than my share -- I was loved with a different T.L.C. (Tough Loving Care). Hardened hearts Speaking love, Showing love, Demanding love, Withholding love. My own sensitive heart learned to love like this too. I've used this word "love" uncountable times without right understanding- my ignorant approach. I've shown love with motive selfishly my own, I shamefully admit. I've also demanded it, receiving at best, temporary enchantment, left empty, scorned. I've used it as reward and even withheld it as to punish. For far too long, I've tried to love others and myself with this kind of love. Striving good works Self-worth seeking deeds, Shallow words of empty promises, constraining heart strings. Dried up by my own unmet expectations. Left alone by those of others. One day long ago, when I first heard that God loved me, I decided to love Him too. His Book of promises filled me with hope and purpose. Sadly, I've lived most of my life believing God's love to be that of mine. I read His "Tender" as "Tough", conditional and slightly contrived. I'm beginning to see a different way -- the only way to love. I must lay down my love to Jesus, and let Him fill my cup. The truth is,His love is like no other. It can't just be planted in my head, depicted on the big screen or acted out, like Shakespeare said. It must be received from the Master Gardener, the tender of my soul, planted deeply and watered often by the drenching of His Word. I no longer pray for more gentleness. I simply pray for more love. More truth in love. More grace in love. More abiding in love. More Jesus. For Love's sweet taste of gentleness is found only on the vine, watered, pruned, ripened through it's abounding source, True Love Divine. Those who abide not in Jesus Christ, but in the world and it's manufactured ways, may flourish for awhile in outward projection and religious displays; yet, eventually come to nothing, but an artificial production of this holy affection, whose Name beholds abundant life, the Author, Love's Perfection. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me." John 15:1-2
*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.