“It [love] does not insist on its own way.”-1 Cor 13:5

So often in relationships when we are not experiencing something we want, we convince ourselves that it is okay to force that want and desire into the relationship.

This can happen in any relationship really.

We just begin to insist on something going the way that we want it to go.

We want to see a certain movie.  Or sit a certain place in the theater.  Or eat at a certain restaurant.

But when we insist on those things. That’s not love.  Now it’s okay to want those things.  Or even to say you want some things like that.  But when you insist on those things, that is not love. It’s us trying to get our own wants met.

Matt Chandler of the Village church talks about how he always lets his wife pick what movie they go see.  He also says that he lets her choose the radio station in the car.

I want to do that for my wife.

In fact I am going to one up Chandy, and let my wife pick where we eat too.  Now I will still surprise her with new restaurants, or make my wanting of pizza known, but the minute that she says she wants something, I am going to go with it.  I will not insist on my wants more than hers.  Because I want to truly love my wife.  And a lot of times love is just the conscious choice of an action done for the other person.

So often we insist on our own way because we think we are entitled or whatever.  But we really aren’t.  And as followers of Jesus, and as people who are filled with the Spirit of Jesus, we need to set aside what we want, and see those wants satisfied in others, because we gave something up.  That’s love.  Taking joy in that.  Taking joy in the fact that something someone else wanted but you didn’t want, they got to have at the cost of you losing what you wanted.

That was a wordy sentence but I am not changing it.

Where do you insist on your own way?

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Love is Kind.

September 26, 2010

“love is kind”-1 Cor 13:4

Love being kind is another obvious one.

Heck, I feel loved by people who are kind to me.  Half my crushes on girls in the past was due to a girl just being nice to me.

But politeness is not what love being kind is.  I think love being kind happens when someone is kind towards another no matter what.

I had a friend who broke up with his girlfriend about a year ago because he felt God leading him out of it.  And after this happened I began to learn how kind his love for her was.

Because this friend didn’t just break up with her because he wanted to, it was because he really felt God leading him to do it.  I know a lot of us think that’s a lame excuse, but I really think it was true at the time.

Now I know a lot of people who get out of relationships, and the first thing they do is think of all the bad things the other person did.  They will think of all of their flaws and convince themselves that those are the reasons why it was okay they broke up with that person.

My friend did that to a degree.  But it was a very small degree. And I only remember him doing it once.  And even so he did it weakly and almost couldn’t bring it up.

I am the type of friend, (sinner in this case) who when my friends break up with a girl, or gets broken up with, likes to make fun of the girlfriend.  I like to point out their flaws, or just say stupid dumb stuff.  I do it out of a heart of wanting to make my friend feel better.  I should really stop that.  Hopefully none of my friends break up or get broken up with every again. Haha.

So I did this girlfriend bashing thing with this friend, and he never liked it.  He always would say the opposite of what I would say.

He had an immense kind love for her.

Nothing I could say or anyone could say would deter him from being that way.

It was because he loved her truly, and something God gave him was kindness in his love for her.  And he couldn’t turn that off.

Now my friend and the girl are back together.  It’s really cool actually.  It really has been a long process of God bringing them back together.  I really think that’s true.  And I am cynic when it comes to that type of stuff.

The cool part is that I know, that my friend was kind to her all year without her knowing it.  He could have bashed on her flaws but he didn’t, he was kind and could only talk about her strengths, and couldn’t see any of her flaws.  I think that is what it means when love is kind.

Love is Patient.

September 22, 2010

“Love is Patient.” -1 Cor 13:4

I feel like the idea that love is patient is a pretty easy to accept concept about love.  It’s what Paul starts off his descriptions of love with.

And I think any human that hears it, says yeah love is totally that.  That makes sense.

I think it is because we all want someone to be patient with us in spite of our flaws or things that are weird or different, that could possibly annoy others.

I have a friend who always wants to park in the best spot.  They search and they search and they search for the best spot.  Whereas my deal is I just park in the first spot I see pretty much and go in.  And so as you can imagine this friend having the opposite theory of parking can be pretty annoying.

However.  I wish all those times I didn’t act annoyed by it.

Unfortunately I usually acted annoyed by it.

I wish my love would have been more patient in those moments.

I wish I would have sang a song I just learned on youtube that just repeats “best spot in the lot.”, over and over again.

But I didn’t act that way.

Even though it seems obvious to us that love is patient. I think once we get to know people really well, this is what becomes the most difficult for us.

I want love that is patient in all situations.  That little things wouldn’t annoy me.  And when they do that I would ask God to give me love for the people that do little things that for some reason annoy me and my sinful nature.

Make my love patient God.

Love that isn’t a Bro.

September 14, 2010

Have you ever noticed that bros think they are really tight? But deep down there are really insecure and hurting. Hence the four hundred and eighty three curls a day plus creatin shakes.

Anyways.

“it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Cor 13:4 (NIV), (note: ESV uses the words boast and arrogant. Just keep that word arrogant in mind for this as well.)

This is another weird one.  What does it even mean for love to boast.  And if you read the NIV what does it mean for love to be proud? Isn’t that a good thing?  That’s why I like that ESV uses arrogant. Because I think that’s what it means by being proud here.

Are we like this in our love though? Do we find ourselves boasting? Or being arrogant? Or was this just a problem in the Corinthian Church?

I know that I constantly do this, in my own head, and aloud to others. And it sucks that I allow myself to take my love and turn into something that is not love by being arrogant and boasting with it.

It looks like this.  I love someone, and I am doing better in a particular area of loving someone then they are of me (or I just think I am doing better).  So I totally mention it to them or to my friends.  It usually shows up in the form of these haughty complaints where I am like “man look at how I am forgiving them so well but they can’t forgive me.”

or

“dude I am doing such a good job hanging out and loving on that person.”

How arrogant is that? Uh. (that was a disgusted with myself uh.)

I think that it seems like a weird thing to say that love doesn’t boast or isn’t arrogant until you really think about it.  We do this all the time.  We try to prove ourselves to others by how well we are loving someone.  We only tell one side of the story in conflicts.  Or we will completely ignore how well someone is loving us and convince ourselves that we are loving so much better than they are.  There are all sorts of ways that we act arrogant with our love.  Which the second that happens, it’s no longer love, it’s sin.  I do this all the time.  I let the sincere love I have for someone turn into a way to prove myself or build up myself.

There we have it.

Love once again becomes selfish rather than selfless.

And that is not okay.

The biggest overall thing that love is, is being completely selfless.  And when we boast about our love, it becomes a selfish way to get credit, or affirmation, or to feel better about ourselves.

So stupid.

If you really love someone, don’t boast about how good you are at it.  Don’t be arrogant about how you love people.  Love humbly. Love selflessly.  Frick. I need to do this all the time. God help me see my faults, and choose to love selflessly not selfishly.

Love is not Green.

September 10, 2010

Green with envy.

What does that even mean anyways?

Anyways.

“love does not envy” – 1 Cor 13:4

Love does not envy. What a weird concept about love.

One definition of envy is to long after, or to strongly desire.

We love within relationships with others, so I will talk about envy in the context of any kind of relationship. Whether that be with a lover, a friend, or a family member.

So I think it’s weird that in this set of descriptions in 1 Corinthians 13 it says that love doesn’t envy. I could see there being a command to us about general life telling us not to envy.  That makes sense to me.  But when talking to me about love, and telling me that love doesn’t envy is a little strange I think.

As I read through the verses last night, this phrase stood out to me. And I like it.

I think when we do envy in our relationships it is perhaps one of the most damaging things we could do.

Envy replaces love quickly in many of our relationships.

Even though this concept may seem peculiar, we see it all the time.

A person has a relationship with another person.  It could be anyone and any type of a relationship.  Then the first person in the relationship begins to look at other people or other relationships in particular.  Now this person that begins to look around at other people or other relationships and they notice something.  They see something they want in a relationship.  They see more love being given, or love being lived out better, or just something that they want in their own relationship that they are not experiencing or feeling that they aren’t getting.

Practically this looks like a wife seeing a different husband being more romantic then her own.  It looks like a child seeing another kid ask for a toy at the store and getting it.  Or it a friend seeing other sets of friends hanging out a lot, or posting a lot of things on facebook to their bff, and wanting those kinds of things with their own bff.

Some would tell you that it’s not bad to want things in a relationship. And I would agree.

I will also say though that if those wants turn into envy, it is not longer love being produced in the relationship, but something that shouldn’t be there.  I would go so far as to say it’s sin now instead of love.

When we bring envy into a relationship, we all of a sudden start putting the other person in the relationship into an unknown expectation in our minds. Or we hold them up to a check list we make make up. We now turn this relationship into something works based.

Love is not works based.  Love does not have condition in order to be worth giving out.  Not true love anyways.  And when love begins to envy, it makes a relationship works based. When love begins to envy in is no longer unconditional.

I believe that true love is unconditional.  Its not works based.  It’s not dependent upon performance.

When we envy, and take things we see from other relationships (probably out of context too) we destroy love.  We make love no longer love, but a selfish way of getting someone to please ourself.

Do you find yourself destroying relationships you have by envying other relationships or ideals?

Love Endures all things.

September 7, 2010

“endures all things” -1 Cor 13:7

Over the past couple of days I have watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy with various roommates.

This is a great trilogy.

There is one character that always stands out to me.  One character who seems to be the bravest, strongest, and loves without condition.

That character is Samwise Gamgee. I think that he is the best character in the trilogy.  His acts of love and bravery reminded me that love endures all things.

In the movie, if you haven’t seen it Sam is Frodo’s partner. Frodo carries the burden of this evil ring.  And Sam carries Frodo, literally and metaphorically. On their journey they encounter Golem, or Smeagal, who Frodo shows mercy to and feels a connection with.

Well eventually this Golem, becomes an enemy.  He is only about getting the ring back from Frodo.  So he plots.  His biggest obstacle however is our boy Samwise. Sam sees Golem’s evil and does everything to protect Frodo from it.

However Frodo let’s Golem in.  He let’s the enemy get a foot hold in his life.  He believes the lies of Golem.  That belief causes him to send Sam away, and nearly causes his own death.

But Sam, from the start of the journey to the end of it, endures with Frodo.  He stays by Frodo’s side.  He picks Frodo up.  He keeps Frodo going.  And after he was sent away, and finds evidence of Golem’s lies, Sam goes back.  He then fights a giant spider to save Frodo.  Then goes into a fortress of orks and goblins to save Frodo.  And if that is not enough, when they are on the mountain, the place they need to get to, Frodo passes out, and Sam carries Frodo.

In this story, Sam I think, is a great example of Love enduring all things.

Sam only wanted to help Frodo, and never wanted to harm him.  And yet even Frodo wouldn’t believe this, Sam still loved Frodo.  Sam still went forward and fought through a lot of crap to love and help Frodo.

I want a love for people that can endure, all things.

You see Frodo did what we do everyday, we let the enemy come into our life and get a foot hold. And the enemy convinces us that we’re better then someone we have a relationship with.  Or the enemy tells us lies about a friend. And so often we believe those lies.  So often because of how we feel, or what we think we are experiencing, we believe the lies of the enemy.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I want to be like Samwise the Brave. I want to love people enduringly.  I want to love people even when they turn me away.  I want a love that will fight to save them from that enemy.  I want to love people in spite of how much I am wronged by someone.  And just like Sam, I want to be able to not even see those wrongs.

Only God can give us this enduring love.  Let’s ask for an enduring love for everyone.

Love Series Intro.

September 2, 2010

So for some reason I wanted to do a series on Love. Particularly a series on what 1 Corinthians 13 says love is.

Cliche?

Maybe.

But I don’t care. I think it will be a fun blog series for the month of September and maybe some of October.

In this chapter of love, Paul tells us pretty much that if we do all these different kinds of things without Love than we are just noisy, and annoying, and have done pretty much nothing.

Then he goes on to say all the things love is.

This month, I am going take one or two of those descriptions at a time and say my take on them.  Will I try to keep it Biblical? Yes.  But it will probably be very experiential in explanation.  So bear with me all you Piper fans out there.

Tonight I am not going to talk about any of these descriptions.  I am going to talk about love a little bit though.

Love is hard.

Love is something we do.

Love is something God gives us, at least at some point He does.

Here is what I mean by all that.  Say we meet a person, and this person is so easy to love, and we love them a lot.  At some point though, it is going to be difficult to love that person.  That person might do something we don’t like, they might be mean to us, they might be really annoying all of a sudden.

At that point, we have to decide if we are going to continue to love them.

The way humans work though is that they want to convince themselves that some people are very lovable for them, and others are not, and that actually may be true.

But I think this cultivates a whole group of people that feel very lovable, and another group that does not feel very loved.

My idea is that if you are being truly loved, it’s because of the person loving you, not because of anything you are or do.

That if someone is truly loving you, it is not based on how good you are, it’s based on how willing the person loving you, is willing to love you.

That may have been confusing.  But I believe it to be true.

So this month, let’s look at God’s perfect love in loving us no matter how messy, or gross, or sinful we are.

And then let’s take that love and ask God to do the same thing in our hearts with that love.

That our love won’t be works based.  That our love will be a matter of the will and God’s power.

And I don’t think we can truly love someone in spite of all their messy-ness with out asking God for help, along with making that choice to love.

Love you guys. This will be fun.