Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Dear sisters, I honestly want this devotional to feel like a love letter. I want you to see my heart in this devotional because I, myself, have had different emotions about the “love chapter” over the years. I have always looked at 1 Corinthians 13 in two separate ways. I would see the love chapter as a verse that is overused by people who don’t really believe or live by the Bible, or I would see it as a verse that I wish society would break apart more instead of just letting Hallmark tell us what love really means.
But I can humbly say over the past few years the Lord has been doing a magnificent work in me with sharing my faith with love. Even still, I too try to remind myself that I have been given His grace upon grace.
There have been different responses from others to the ways I have shared my faith in love. I have had cheerleaders in my life praise me for God’s heart in me to the point where they call me a “perfect angel.” However, over the years I have had many call my heart too much, weird, and say that I need to "come back to reality" because people will take advantage of my heart since I am so focused on loving others.
I never wanted to believe the naysayers that told me that I needed to “pull back” when it dealt with my heart. However, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I learned sharing my faith is not sharing things about me. If that makes sense. I learned it is not about me anymore, and I am joyful that I can say that.
It is not about me anymore because sharing my faith means sharing God’s love.
One way I’ve learned this is through sharing my faith with my family. I always thought sharing God’s love with family would be a peaches-and-cream and easy-peasy kind of thing. However, I learned sometimes sharing one’s faith with family can truly be harder than sharing with strangers. I say this because, for me, loving others like Christ seemed to be a lot easier around strangers that I knew needed God’s light and joy - not just needed it but wanted it!
With saying this, I want to speak directly to my sisters who try hard to understand, forgive and love their earthly fathers like Jesus Christ. Please hold my hand while we not only accept for ourselves God’s grace upon grace, but let’s give our fathers and other family members grace upon grace too. Yes, there have been moments in my life when I wanted to snap my fingers. There would be time when I would want my earthly father to speak to me in a different way, with a different tone, or just open up more to me. Yet, I was reminded by God that Jesus Christ calls our earthly daddies out by name too. He took the cross for their name, shame, and sin too! Yes, even in moments of bitterness and not understanding them or vice versa.
You see, sprinkling kindness like confetti means sprinkling kindness like confetti to all. The Lord has humbly been teaching me to love more without using a “but.”
I just want to encourage you today to seek to love without conditions. Love without keeping tally marks. Love is not a this or that. Please hold my hand because I want to join with you in this new journey of loving others without a “but.”
1. Take out your journal or just a piece of paper. Now, open your Bible or Bible app to 1 Corinthians 13. You there? Okay. I want you copy it down but to write your name in place of ‘love is.’ So it should look like, “[Your name] is patient. [Your name] is kind."
2. Now, I want you to spend an entire month on each one. Can you do that for me? Example: You wrote your name down before is patient, right? Okay, I want you to spend an entire month praying over being more patient. If it helps, keep a pocket journal in your purse. I want you to document moments when your patience was tested, and how your heart was when you needed to ask God for more patience?
Dear Lord, thank You so much for being our definition of enough. Yet, not only our definition of enough but our definition of love. Thank You for being our constant when our moods sometimes shift with the seasons and when we lack time to be silent. Teach us, Lord, to love, live, and forgive like You. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your love. Show us how to share our faith openly with others and know to not listen to the voice of the enemy that wants to tell us that we are just “too much” (or “not enough”). We love You and thank You, Lord, for Your mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Amen.
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