Our pastor gave such a wonderful sermon today on love. Seems like it's common sense, that we all do it everyday and therefore it's all things we've heard. That may be true... but to some extent, we go through the motions without ever really giving whole-hearted. We do what comes naturally, but don't give a lot of thought to really loving people that aren't in our immediate families or tight knit circles. So I want to share some of the points he gave, and as you all know, throw in a few tid-bits of my own. :)
The things that love is:
Essential: We all need it in order to continue in this life, and we need it to have a GREAT life. Without love, we have nothing
Sacrificial: It goes far beyond what is easy or expected, it's a deeper willingness and desire to give of oneself
Free: It cannot be earned! Love is to great to be earned, and it goes beyond measure. Real love has no demands or expectations
Enduring: (Can we say Amen to this one!?) It is strong, tough, everlasting. It is not easily destroyed John 13 says that Jesus loves us to the end! (Praise Him!)
Expressed: In order for it have value, it must be expressed. God commanded us to love one another.
There is are many ways to express love. The examples we were given this morning were: kindness, compassion, and being real. All of those things require you to think of someone else above yourself. And each requires that God give you His love and guidance. If you receive His love, you will also learn how to love like He wants us to. Time is the enemy, and because we are all lacking of it, it seems that much more difficult to give what little we have to others. But I can tell you from experience that it feels so good to give of yourself to other people. When we allow God to use us in other people's lives, we are showing HIS LOVE! We are showing that we are His, and that His love is great. He can cause love to grow inside of us for people that we don't particularly like and those that are hard for us to love.
There are some hindrances to loving other people, and I think they are so crucial for us to understand. If we allow these things to consume us, we're taking love out of our lives and our hearts. Hatred - the complete opposite of love; you can't have hate and love both as hate shoves love out of our hearts. Gossip - talking about other people does not show that we are loving, nor children of God. Pride/Envy - When you are full of pride, you're saying that you are more important than the other person, and your focus is always on yourself. Impatience - it tells the other person that your time is more important and valuable than theirs.
It's so easy to get caught up in our own activities and priorities that we miss opportunities to express love to other people... people that maybe, just maybe, God placed directly in our paths for a reason. How often are we missing the chance to tell someone how special they are, that they are loved, to give them a much needed hug when they feel alone? There are people all around us hurting. You may know it, you may not. I know that I used to be really good at discerning people's needs... I observed their behaviors and knew when something wasn't quite normal. I have gotten away from that a little bit, and I'm committing to getting back there. I have learned that love is one of the most beautiful and precious gifts that we can give to those around us - deserving or not, reciprocated or not. If you are loved, and you know you are loved, don't you want others to feel that same way? It doesn't take much energy to give people hugs when you see them, tell them you love them, and listen when they need to talk. It truly is free, and it's not only enduring, it's everlasting. I thank God for loving me so completely, that I may be free to love others in the same way. Be observant this week; show affection, pay attention, be considerate, be empathetic and LOVE! And in case I haven't told you guys lately, or nearly as frequently as I should, I love you and I'm thankful for you! I know that God has graciously blessed my life with each person that I know, and I will cherish you all for what you are to me.
May He hold you close and guide you this week~
7 hours ago