While I'm away at camp, please enjoy these selected posts a second time around.
Originally posted on November 14, 2008
I've been thinking a lot about relationships, about both my successes and failures in them. I've been asking myself what has made successful relationships and what have I done that's made a mess of them. I can never get very far from these questions. I think it's because God won't let me ignore them. He is very much about communication and relationships.
Maybe I appear quite congenial on my blog, but I have blown lots of relationships. Some have been mended. Some are in process. Others need attention. And unfortunately, others may be lost until Heaven. I've had to face personal responsibility for what I've lacked, which was love.
What is love? For me, love is an affectionate feeling I have for somebody, a tenderness, a compassion. The Bible defines love as an action and not a feeling, and I've had a difficult time embracing that. I want it to be a feeling, yet at the same time, I know my feelings fail me. Or rather, my feelings fail others.
I've had to face that reality in the last month. My feelings have failed. I've found myself grasping onto something, demanding my own way in my heart, only to find it conflicting with what someone else needed. Someone precious to me. I can't have my own way and still try to promote what's best for them at the same time. Why? Because my love is fleshly and not godly. My love is more often about what I get from the person, than what I am giving to them.
As I opened my Bible a couple weeks ago to 1 Corinthians 13 to be reminded what godly love is, I saw how I have failed at all of these attributes. I decided it would help if I wrote out each quality with my name inserted because I am to demonstrate each of them in my relationships. This is how it looks:
- Liz suffers long
- Liz is kind
- Liz does not envy (others)
- Liz does not parade herself (before others)
- Liz is not puffed up (about who she is or what she does)
- Liz does not behave rudely (toward others)
- Liz does not seek her own (way)
- Liz is not provoked (by others)
- Liz thinks no evil (of others)
- Liz does not rejoice in iniquity
- Liz rejoices in the truth
- Liz bears all things
- Liz believes all things (in others)
- Liz hopes all things (for others)
- Liz endures all things (for others)
Those are not feelings. Those are choices of my will. My natural man is unkind, envies, seeks its own way, and is very easily provoked....because of feelings. The spiritual man ignores feelings and chooses to do what God says.
As I've read over my list the last few mornings, my prayer has been that God will create this love in my life because I haven't got it. I imagine how much freedom would come to a person who loves like that.
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