Walking. Taking steps. Moving forward. As we enter a new year, I want to invite you to join me in taking steps to walk in love more fully! God asks us to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). Last week we talked about choosing to Listen to the Voice of Love. We receive love from God. As we receive His love, we express His love to others.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~I Cor. 13:4-7 (ESV)
God is love. We can substitute “God” for the word “love” in this passage, because every attribute of love describes Him. For example: God is patient and kind; God does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant or rude. God does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful; He does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
He asks us to become love as well! In relationship with God, we come to know Him and experience who He is. Jesus’s life modeled love for us. And through the Holy Spirit, God lives in our hearts and empowers us to love like him. He asks us to listen to the promptings of his Spirit within us and obediently follow his example!
Would you try one of these exercises? Walking in love begins with our hearts. Heart change is powerful because it naturally shows forth in our lives.
1) Try substituting your name instead of the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13. For example, “Kathryn is patient and kind, Kathryn does not envy or boast…” Whoa! I feel convicted already! This feels challenging, doesn’t it? It can feel uncomfortable to become aware of ourselves. But this is okay, since awareness is the first step to growing. This is the humble place where Jesus lovingly meets us.
2) Jot out the following on a journal page. Set aside some prayerful quiet time with Jesus. Give yourself permission to be really honest and present with him as you consider what it could mean to love God and people well in your current circumstance. Jot down what you bear in this moment, what you could believe and hope for, and how you can endure through this circumstance with perspective. Imagine how you could walk in love!
These exercises take courage! But we need not fear. We are not left on our own to try hard to be loving. God has given us His Spirit to dwell in us. He meets us right where we are. Our part is to open our heart and life to Him, listen to His voice, and obey. He is the One who forms love in us so we become more like Jesus!
“… according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being …” ~Ephesians 3:16
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ~I Corinthians 3:18
As you do one of these exercises, open your heart and listen. What do you hear Jesus speak into your life? How will you obey?