Love Trumps. Holy Spirit: Who or What? #14
His baby sister had finally gone to sleep, and I was ardently trying to get Bennett to follow her lead. Afternoon naps at Mimi's house mean that we all three lay down on the big bed with me usually in the middle; I sing, cajole and hope that both of my little grandchildren will fall asleep. 'Shhh, time to go to sleep now... I mean it,' I said to the four-year-old. 'But Mimi, Mimi...' 'Yes, Bennett,' I said. 'I love you, I love you, Mimi!' Aw, man... he had me.
In some people's presence, we feel quite unique and quite loved. Somehow, we feel safe and warm. Paul ascribes these qualities to pure love~
Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked... does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13.4-7
Ah yes, when people live these qualities, it means they LOVE well. 'A list of 15 different characteristics--they would be quite daunting if a person were just to set out to emulate them, wouldn't you say? "Okay, so today, I'm going to be different...I'm going to be patient and kind; I will not be selfish or envious, I will not give up on my friends, I will not hold a grudge...." I do not think it quite possible unless there is first a divine transformation. You see, on our own, we are quite selfish-we always think of ourselves first-how we feel about this or that, how it affects us, whether or not we want to do thus and so, etc. We must first get to know the Author of Love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.1
So wrote John, the youngest disciple, who knew he was so loved by Jesus, and was oft found right next to Jesus. [Do you cozy up to Jesus?]
Love is why God created us in the first place. God did not create us out of need. He created us out of his love.2 God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that he may love and perfect them.3
It is in relationship with God that we learn about love, and the Holy Spirit's presence in us grows us into people who can know and express love.
Not too long ago, someone said to me, 'Could you pray that I would be more compassionate?' Hmm . . . really, my prayer ought be, 'Lord, I pray that he would get to know you and love you more.' See, when we know God more, we love him more, and when we love him more, we choose to spend more time with him and in his Word. Then, we become more loving. 'Hard to be compassionate without a fount of love inside. That fount is the love of God. The same is true for the rest of these qualities Paul describes. The more our own inner tank is full of love, the less full of ourselves we are . . .the more we are able to love.
These verses often have a part in wedding ceremonies; being patient, kind, and generally loving seems do-able when the bride is so in love with her groom, and the groom thinks she is the loveliest ever of God's creatures! Let life set in, and check back on the happy couple-neither is quite so lovely, loving, or loveable. No, unless they access a source greater than themselves, they will struggle to love well. The human condition precludes it.
Love trumps ... love wins every time. All of those beautiful traits of pure, godly love-patience, kindness, and so on . . . how do you fare with them? Would you dare look back over the description of love, and take stock? Do you keep a record of wrongs? Please don't, my beloved. Something I am working on, for sure! Believe for better . . . hope for more . . . be the love you hope to find-be the loving person you hope to encounter.
1 John 4.7 2 John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason 3 C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves