It was a typical morning, trying my best to put together a cute outfit, and preferably something different than the outfit from yesterday. But in the midst of style thoughts, a decorative fixture in my room beckoned my attention as it never had before. It was a cross. One that had been hanging on our wall for over 6 years and I had never truly noticed it. It wasn’t the intricate wood working, or artistic designs that I had my eyes fixed on. It was the verse written on it.
It always protects, always, trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
It was if these words were being burned into my mind, heart and soul. I began to think about and evaluate my current love odometer. Do I do what I can to protect my daughter’s from harmful words/unkind actions of other’s? Do I trust my husband? Do I hope for the best when talking with my friends? Do I continue to pray with perseverance, not just a one time prayer for a neighbor in need? And do I do this ALWAYS, or just sometimes? This is what we as believer’s in Jesus are called to, to love unconditionally. ALWAYS.
I couldn’t get this scripture and evaluation of my current love odometer off the brain when I went for a run later in the day. And so I continued to pray for God to work out this unfailing love in me. His unfailing love in me.
God speaks to us in so many ways and He tends to speak to me through repetition. Of a verse. Or through giving me a physical example in nature or everyday living which is attached to a scripture. His Voice is connected with His Word. And He confirms His Voice through His Word. And when I am bombarded with a specific scripture, theme, concept, word coming up again and again in my thoughts and heart, I recognize it is Him. Leading me like a Shepherd. And so here I am writing. In response to His Voice.
I pulled up my Bible Gateway App on my phone for the scripture of the day as I typically do. And wouldn’t you know, it was about this unfailing love I had been ever contemplating. In fact it was simply a little further up in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage I had read on my bedroom cross.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but always rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
As I continued to pray. I felt confirmed in my Spirit to act upon this 1 Corinthians passage. But how? 1 John 3:16,18 came to mind, This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother’s and sister’s. Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
So I counted the love attributes. 15. This number wouldn’t leave the forefront of my mind. My very first thought when contemplating the number 15 unfortunately brought up a season of struggle for me; “The Freshman 15”. Freshman year in college. Having to daily put on the will of steel in saying “no” to the donuts, hamburgers, and cookies galore. It was a season of fear rooted in saying “no” to putting on weight in this season.
In contrast, what if instead of fearfully focusing on not “putting on” weight, I (spiritually speaking) “put on” love? Yes. Absolutely. Putting on love is what we as believer’s are called to do (For Pete’s sake the 1st and 2nd greatest commandment Jesus even said in Mark 12:30-31 was to Love God and then love others).
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12,14 (bold added)
So I am pumped up and compelled by the Spirit to focus/practice/live out one of the 15 love attributes (as described in 1 Corinthians 13) each week for the next 15 weeks ( fittingly launching this right after Feb 14th, the day of love). And I am inviting you to join me for the “Love it up-Putting on 15 (love attributes) in 15 (2015)” challenge. To love God and others. And really do it. In action and in truth.
“Love it up-Putting on 15 in 15” Challenge Details:
1. Pray for God to provide opportunities for you to practice putting on the designated love attribute of the week (I am praying for you too my friends!).
2. Write down one or more specific situation(s) during the week in which God’s love through you was evident (Example- Could be an outward display: through giving to another or an encouraging word. Or an inward restraint: of using self control to not express unkind words to another.) Keep a “Love 15” journal and/or share your stories here online. (I will also be posting my “Love 15” stories each week.)
3. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 (read over each week, think about and talk to God about ways to practice loving others)
Simple, right? No. But life changing, faith building, and joy instilling? Yes!
So this is week 1. Our first love attribute of 1 Corinthians 13 is LOVE IS PATIENT. I am praying for you. This week. To have opportunities to practice patience in your work, family (kids, husband, parents, sister’s, brother’s), church, neighborhood, and with yourself and your God.
© 2012 Standing on Peace