One of the feeds I subscribe to is the daily devotion from Proverbs31. I just read this and it struck a nerve with me. I have decided to accept this challenge and I know the first blank is going to be a challenge for me because there are certain things I am patient with, yet when it comes to my husband, I find that sometimes I’m patient and there are other times when I’m not. He asked me to rub some Sportscreme on his neck (he has serious health problems, his neck and back being the most difficult for him right now). I had no problem doing this and I really got into his neck muscles and his shoulders and his back. I then began trying to get him to move his head up and he was resisting me and began crying out in pain. I continued to gently lift his chin and he became irritable with me and I found myself saying with an edge in my voice, “you have to try and push yourself beyond the pain, do you want to be like this the rest of your life!?”. He then left the room and went into the bedroom. A few minutes later he was in his pj’s, went to the kitchen to fill his water bottle then announced he was going to bed. I know how much he struggles with the pain, and I also know he has not done everything he can to get healed. I feel like he has given up and that’s what causes me to lose my patience. So, that being said, I have decided to put this message from Karen on my blog. I’ve accepted the challenge, how about you?
March 5, 2008
Love Out Loud
By Karen Ehman
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:22 (NIV)
One of my favorite passages from the Bible is the “Love” chapter from 1 Corinthians 13. I remember being challenged to memorize it for an English class in my public high school in the 1980’s. Even secular scholars have no doubt that this piece of literature is a beautiful work, flowing in its rhythm and captivating in its cadence. It is actually relatively easy to memorize. However, living out the words is a whole different story!
Let’s pick up the passage in verses 4-8….
“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, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
How would you describe your love for others? Are you a patient soul or do you drum your fingers and tap your toes while you stew and sigh not-so-patiently? Is it hard to bring you to a point of anger or does flying off the handle come much too naturally? Do you keep score with those who have wronged you, ready to dredge up the past and become “historical” to make your point? Do you boast? Got a case of the green envies? Ever been rude to someone? How will we ever learn to love the way this passage urges us to?
Here’s an idea to help to flesh this out in real life. Make a copy of the love chapter on your computer. However, wherever the word love is used (or its pronoun ‘it’) leave a blank. Then try over the next week or so to be able to write your name in the blank when you have a chance to exhibit this quality in real life. Were you patient at the doctor’s office today and, instead of grumbling while sitting in the waiting room, you quietly thanked God for the extra time and then used it to pray for others? Write your name on the “________ is patient” line. Did you and another family member get into a heated discussion and you were tempted to bring up a wrong from the past but, with great restraint, held your tongue? Bravo! Write your name on the “________ keeps no record of wrongs” line. Were you kind to the grumpy cashier instead of being rude right back? Get out that pen and write away!
Be assured that if you take this challenge, God will give you lots of opportunities to practice displaying these wonderful characteristics of love. And you can count on others noticing the change in you as you seek to love out loud.
Dear Lord, help me to accurately reflect the love you show to us by my actions to others. When I want to live in the flesh, help me to walk in the spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.