I hope you haven't forgotten that I've been writing about "real" love...and I've definitely still got more characteristics to go. It helped me to go back through and read the other posts on love to have a coherent flow of what I've been studying so...perhaps it would help you to do the same.
We are called to love in a radical way, we've already seen that from all over in God's word. But I've also mentioned that the reason we can even love that way in the first place is because God first loved us and as His people we have the ability to let Him love others through us, so it is His love working in us to do what He has called us to do. I gained an even better understanding of God's love this past week as I was reading and studying....let me share. :)
I know that when I have gone through some really difficult, tear my soul up, times, like the battle Luke and I had with infertility for a few years, I had times where I struggled to grasp how something like that could come into my life from a God who loves me. It sure didn't "feel" loving to be left with an empty hole in my heart and a barren womb and sit in my room, sobbing over the heartache of empty arms. I remember asking, "If God loves me, how could He allow me to feel so much pain?" I wrestled with that from time to time but decided to fight my "feelings" with the truth and choose to accept to believe that God says He loves me in His word and THAT is truth, so I chose to accept what He said, even though it didn't always feel like that in my life.
Recently I have learned a bit more about His love that has turned a few more pages in my limited understanding of love and put a new perspective on what I was feeling back during that time, and other times of pain. As fallen human beings, what we consider "love" is not perfect and the way we show love is not perfect. We tend to see love as doing nice things for another person and giving them things and taking care of them. And those are very loving acts. But, God's love is much deeper and more involved than that. His love is infinite and holy and beyond what we can fully comprehend. And His love is not of the "human" kind...it is His perfect, holy love.
God created us for His glory and to enjoy Him fully. And in His infinitely perfect knowledge He knows what is best for us and what the most loving thing for us is. He knows that we will find the most joy in glorifying Him through our lives, because that is what we were created for. You cannot separate the two...we are to glorify God, but at the same time, glorifying Him brings us the most joy. So for God to show His love would be to do things that allow us to glorify Him most and therefore bring us the most joy because we are fulfilling our purpose here. So when something painful, something that rips at your heart, something that makes you bleed inside and leaves you feeling like a million pieces, comes into your life....it is through God's sovereign, all-wise, all-knowing, loving hands because He knows that it is going to allow you to glorify Him most, bringing you the most JOY possible.
I know this first hand, because after all was said and done, and I was able to look back at the years that we fought and wrestled with life, pain and reality and was able to say "Thank you." Thank you God for what you have done in my life...I would never wish that pain on anyone but I see now how God used it to mold my heart and be the potter in my life and I'm thankful for everything I learned and experienced. My life is richer, fuller and better because of what I experienced. I see now, God knew best and He knew what would bring me the most joy, through glorifying Him to the fullest....He was loving on me....He was wrapping my heart in His hands, making it all that He wanted it to be and it was perfect.
So...perhaps that will be an encouragement to you today as you think on love and how you can love more fully and more "real." Here's the next few characteristics.....
Thinks No Evil- I don’t dwell on others' wrongs. I quickly forgive when wronged and don't hold a grudge. I don't stay bitter or upset at someone when they've hurt me. I don't jump to conclusions about their motives or assume the worst. I don't wish wrong on others. Also...my mind is pure and thinks on what is lovely, pure, honest, noble, right and admirable so I think these types of thoughts about others. My mind is filled with thoughts of others that align with these characteristics.
Does not rejoice in unrighteousness- I encourage others spiritually. I don't take pleasure in someone else's sin and am not happy to see others screw up because of their sin. I don't encourage or cheer on sinful behavior. I don't enjoy seeing others fall or make unwise decisions. I don't take pleasure in sinful things. Like iron sharpens iron, I am a spiritual challenge and encouragement to those around me...my spouse, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, strangers, etc.
Rejoices in the truth- I am honest, and seek honesty in everything. I rejoice in God's Word because it is truth. I cherish His word above all and regard it for the holy, perfect Word that it is. Because I rejoice in truth, I know that the most loving thing I can do is share Truth with others so I look for ways to share God with those around me, whether stranger or friend.
Whew...today's are definitely a challenge to me. My toes are getting
stepped stomped on! :) I have got some praying and learning and growing to do. I hope this has been a challenge and encouragement to you as well!