Love is a funny thing. I know you’ve read hundreds of posts about love, but bear with me.
I teach a high school philosophy class (homeschool co-op) and one of our topics of conversation this week was “how is the experience of loving someone is different and similar to liking someone?” As I’m sure you can imagine this sparked quite a conversation amongst my homeschoolers. I directed them toward thinking about family versus friends, not so much
One of my students said, “well I guess if you really love someone you’re more willing to sacrifice something for them”. That was the exact answer I was looking for someone to give. Our conversation went on and it was a good class, but it left me with pondering these thoughts for the rest of the week. That answer wasn’t super profound, most adults I know would say the same thing. So why did this cause me to ponder for several more days? I’ll let you into my thoughts for awhile. If this ride gets scary, feel free to disembark.
We throw the word love around quite carelessly. We love everything. We love food. We love people. We love pets. We love books. We love beauty products. We love school supplies. We love art supplies. We love yarn, well I say that, I don’t know about you. Facebook even created a love button because sometimes like isn’t a strong enough reaction. But do we really “love” all the things we say we love?
I LOVE God, my husband, my kids and my parents. But I tell people all the time that I love them. And in my mind I do, but if I had to choose between my husband and them, clearly I’m going to choose my husband. Do you really love everyone you say that too? Do they know you love them because of your actions or are you relying on your words? What are you sacrificing for them? Time? Money? But if you aren’t sacrificing for that person, do you really love them?
What about things? Like all the things we say we love. I love books but I’m not going to lay down my life for my library of books. I love my yarn, but again if I had to lay down my life to get more yarn I would never buy another skein. What about pets? Are willing to give your life for your pet? There are other things besides death as a sacrifice, like money or time. But if your family needed groceries and you bought dog food instead. . .I’ll just leave that sentence unfinished.
Now, let’s get to the meat of this post. I can hear you saying, “Wrap it up Valerie!” If we were in church I’d be saying “give me five more minutes.”
We have established that we sacrifice for what and who we love. Where does God fall your list love? I love God. Like in my mind, I really, really love God. I believe I’m doing pretty okay in the giving my all department but what if. . . What if I had to choose God or my kids? Could I? I’d like to think I could, but I really love my babies. I live in a country where I may never have to choose between God or my life/family. Anything is possible in the day and age we live in but that thought is so far removed from us that we do not consider it.
Let’s get real for a minute. As followers of Christ most of us are praying for our needs and living in expectation of God to come through. And that’s what His Word says to do so it’s not wrong, but what are you sacrificing for Him? I do not look at attending church as a sacrifice, I go because I LOVE Him. I do not look at paying my tithes as a sacrifice, it’s me giving back for the financial blessings He given us.
Sacrificing requires me to give up something beyond the lowest ‘how little can I do and still look like I’m sacrificing’ level of giving. Love requires loving those we think are unlovable. Love requires us to think about others before I consider my own comfort. Love requires me to be kind when someone is being mean to me. Love requires me to love my enemies (those seeking to destroy me). Love requires me to share the Good News with everyone and anyone. I cannot do any of those things on my own, I can only do that because I love Him and His love has empowered me to be able to love. Love requires me to love God above everyone, yes everyone, else. That includes loving Him more than my husband, kids, parents, friends, pastor and so on. And in reality, God gave His all because of His enormous love for humanity, is loving Him above all else really that much to ask?
Armed with all this information, will we change how we view love? Will we change how we love others because we can see that we love them because we love Him? Will we change our verbiage. I like yarn. I like chocolate. I like school supplies and books. I don’t really love those things. If I wouldn’t sacrifice (anything, not just dying for them) for someone, should I tell them I love them?
When I catch myself putting my family ahead of God, I have to re-evaluate my love for Him. If I catch myself buying something we can live without instead of giving a little extra to the building fund, I have to re-evaluate my love for the Kingdom. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure I’m like Peter, answering God with a brotherly love and not a sacrificial love. (John 21:15-17).
Love well. Love strongly. Love freely, love people because you love God and He loves people. But don’t love any of God’s creation, people, pets, food, nature more than you love Him.
Love equals sacrifice. Love is a verb. Actively sacrifice for those you love the most and those you may not think deserve love, because reality is. . .none of us have earned love and yet we all need it.