Follow God’s example, give love
By Becky Spell Vann Contributing Columnist
Are you motivated by love? Today, Valentine’s Day, children of all ages will celebrate the joy of giving and receiving love. Hearts will smile when candy kisses, homemade valentines, heart-shaped cookies, stuffed animals, and flowers are delivered. Mailboxes will be filled with cards signed in love, sealed with a kiss, and sent to sweethearts. What will you give to those who color your world with love?
God gave His children the greatest gift of all — pure love. God’s love is not blind; it sees more, not less. Yet, because it sees more, it is willing to see less. In 1 Corinthians 14:1 we are told to, “Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire (this) love (make it your goal).”
A good friend gave Tim and me a book – “Epic – The Story God is Telling” – in 2006; a gift of inspiration given in a season when we eagerly pursued God’s love and prayed for healing. Pulling the treasured gift from my book shelf, I stop writing to read a marked passage that shares the power of God’s love.
“It is a parable of the coming of Jesus of Nazareth. God himself – the King of all creation – takes on human flesh and enters our story as one of us. He sets aside his glory, clothes himself with humility, and sneaks into enemy camp, under cover of night to whisper words of love to his own, ‘I have come for you.’ This is, after all, a love story. We are born in love, by love, and for love.”
“As the Father has love me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love,” says John 15:9.
“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart,” says Jeremiah 24:7.
“It is the most beautiful of all love stories. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth answer once and for all the question, ‘What is God’s heart toward me?’ At the point of our deepest betrayal, when we had run our farthest from him and gotten so lost we could never find our way home, God came and died to rescue us. You have never been loved like this. He has come to save you in every way a person can be saved. That is God’s heart toward you.”
“God sent us His greatest gift…His Son, to die for us. He was expressing His great love for His children. Each time His love is received, the God kind of love is reproduced in the world. Romans 5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us….But God commanded His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’”
Through this story we see God’s heart toward us. What is our heart toward Him? The greatest gift He gave was love. What are we giving? Are the gifts we share with others given in love? Spending quality time with God in prayer and studying His Word, we will be motivated by His love to love others.
I think of wedding ceremonies when 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 is read. These verses are a great description of God’s love, of how He expects us to live our lives and to love others. A wedding gift with these verses and our picture stare at me from the wall beside my writing desk. I read them often and dwell on His amazing grace and unconditional love. To fully understand these powerful verses, try inserting your name in the place of love. Read each one below, say your name in the blank, ponder each characteristic of God’s love, and spend some time pondering in your heart, ”Am I truly motivated by Love?”
1. _____ endures long and is patient.
2. _____ is kind.
3. ______ never is envious nor boils over with jealousy.
4. ______is not boastful or vainglorious.
5. _____does not display itself haughtily.
6. _____is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride)
7. _____is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.
8. _____does not insist on its own rights or its own way.
9. _____takes no account of the evil done to it ( doesn’t take offense)
10. _____does not rejoice at injustice but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
11. _____bears up under anything and everything that comes
12. _____is ever ready to believe the vest of every person.
13. _____hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.
14. _____endures everything (without weakening)
15. _____never fails or fades out.
How many characteristics fit well with your name?
God’s Word is a mirror into our hearts. We hide nothing from Him. Obeying His Word brings blessings. He doesn’t expect perfection but longs for us to live in His love and share it with others. The closer we get to God, the more His Holy Spirit speaks and helps us understand God’s love. What can you give God? Give Him your heart! What can you give to those who color your world with love? Give them your unconditional love as God gives to us. Making time for a loving, close relationship with the Lord and loved ones is a gift that keeps on giving forever and ever.
Let this day of love inspire each of us to give gifts of love that will touch eternity. Share this amazing love of God with others. Then, we will be motivated by love to love. And what the world needs now is His love, sweet love!
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