God is Love
“The church needs to love more.” This was my constant rant as a new Christian. I wanted my church to do more to help the poor and underprivileged in our community.
One day it dawned on me that I needed to stop talking and start loving those in need.
I volunteered to be a Big Brother. The coordinator paired me with Floyd. Floyd was 43 years of age with the mental capacity of a second grader.
Not long into our conversation, Floyd blurted out, "Bob, I want to go to Six Flags." Two weeks later Floyd and I went to Six Flags.
When I picked up Floyd, a big smile covered his face. He was ready to experience the best day of his life.
We hit the Log Jamboree first. Right as we went under the bridge where all the people were waiting in line, Floyd ripped off his shirt and raised his hands to the sky. His awkward exuberance turned heads. I felt a thousand pairs of eyes staring right at us. People were pointing and laughing. I wanted to hide under the seat.
The rest of the day, I was tense inside. Everywhere we went in the park, people stared. I kept wondering what are these people thinking about me.
At four that afternoon, Floyd was spent. He was ready to go home. I was ready to go home too. Protecting my fragile self-image had taken its toll on me.
As we were walking toward the gate to leave, Floyd put his arm around me, pulled me close and said, "Bob, I love you!"
My chin started to quiver. I fought to hold back the tears.
This day was supposed to be about Floyd, but all I could think about was good old me. Floyd didn't know what was going on inside my heart and mind. For him, it was the best day of his life. And it should have been the best day of my life.
It turned out to be one of the most painful. The day exposed my insecurities and fears. And the experience showed me I knew very little about the love of God, if anything.
I wanted to love people the way Jesus did, but that day I failed miserably. Maybe, you’ve had a similar experience.
Here is what I learned. I struggled to love others because I wasn’t sure God genuinely loved me. That started me on an adventure to discover how high and wide and long and deep is the love of God. Let me tell you, it is an adventure with no end.
God is love. To know his love is to know him.
There is no better place to turn than 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“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, love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, it always trusts, it always hopes, it always perseveres. Love never fails.”
This is the definition of love. These 15 action statements tell the story of God’s love toward you…a love he wants you to fully know and experience.
As you dive into this passage through this reading plan, let this be your daily prayer:
“Heavenly Father, by your Spirit, strengthen me with your power so that I can grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Let me know this love in a way that characterizes my life in you. Amen.”