Go ahead and try to define God’s love. Without using examples.
It’s hard isn’t it?
For most of my life as a Christian, I have struggled with this word. I was taught to love others and show them the “love of Christ”. This led to people becoming a little bit of a mission project. Serving like the good Samaritan. Sharing salvation like Jesus did. Giving food or sponsorship or advice or hugs or whatever action I could come up with that might show “love”.
But I never really felt love. I just did love.
It took me 30 some years to discover there was a difference.
30 some years of slowly coming to understand these passages in I Timothy that state:
“The aim of our speech is love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith…The whole point of what we’re urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven’t the remotest idea of what they’re holding forth with such imposing eloquence…Our teaching about this journey is intended to bring us to a single destination—a place where self-giving love reigns from a pure heart, a clean conscience, and a genuine faith.”
At some point over the past several years, the Lord has started to pull the self-giving, self-interest, love out of my heart. You know, the kind of love that feels the need to post it on social media every time you do something nice for someone else? Or feels like the person should be extremely thankful or gracious because you did something nice for them?
That kind of love reigned in my heart for years, and I didn’t even know it. Can you relate?
But it doesn’t have to reign anymore.
The Top 3 Reasons We Don’t Love from a Pure Heart
Do you think about yourself more than others? Is how you look, act, and viewed by others consuming your thoughts? If so, most of what you do will be about yourself and not out of a genuine love. It takes effort to lay this self-consciousness. You must intentionally lay this down before the Lord. Confess it to Him. Beg Him to change you. Slowly, over time He will change your heart and mindset.
Somewhere along our Christian paths, we are taught our giftings, discussions about God with nonbelievers, hugs, and smiles are super important to other people. So important that it changes their life.
I’m not saying your giftings and serving others isn’t important! You are a member of the body of Christ and need to act like it. However, focusing on ourselves and how important every little thing we do leads to us thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. We focus on OUR actions and not God. See the emphasis on self? Ultimately when we start focusing on God, He will keep you humble and THEN use you and create a genuine love for others.
It’s easier to not truly love the people around you
People aren’t perfect and sometimes truly loving others with God’s love, crushes your heart. In addition, just focusing on the action of love and not on actually allowing the God’s love to overflow from you protects you from getting hurt. However, this is part of trusting God as well. Ask God to remove the fear and the need to protect yourself so that you can freely love others with a pure heart.
Loving others with God’s love gives you more freedom than you could imagine. As you seek to follow the Lord, humble yourself. Then let God, who is love, overflow from your heart. His love is a self-giving love that comes from a pure heart, a clean conscious, and a genuine faith.