“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
We often look at these verses and think, “This is how I need to act. This is how I should treat others. This is what I have to do to be loving. . .”
But, how often do we consider — this is how God loves us. . .
With this, God is patient to you today. If you’re having a hard time changing, His grace is there to help on your way.
God is kind. His kindness can overpower your meanness to yourself if you allow His Words to become your words.
God is not envious, boastful or proud. He wants the best for you — without anything else. There’s no additional, “But. . .”, or exclusion, or disclaimer.
God is not dishonoring, self-seeking, or angry. While people may act one way, God’s way is the good-way, the right way, the heart-honoring way. Above people’s ways, you can always find His. This is a freedom-place for you.
God does not keep a record of your wrongs. The second Jesus died, He created-way for wrongs to be replaced with the righteousness of Christ. To receive Christ is to find relief.
God does not rejoice in evil, but delights in truth. Whereas the world may celebrate dysfunction and laud evil, God delights in truth as truth. What is hidden — He brings to light.
God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. He is always protecting you — and worthy of trust. He has all vision and plans in His hands. And, His love for you, will persevere all trials and hardships.
There’s this small activity I’d love you to join me in doing. I believe it will bring a huge smile to your face and your heart. Will you indulge me for a moment?
Think all the way back to the moment right before you were saved. Was it 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago?
Think of that old you visiting the new you today? What would she notice about you? About your life, attitudes, and perspective? About what God has done? What he has given you?
Note how far you’ve come. How faithful God is. All the small things you take for granted.
We usually can’t see what’s behind us. This means while we’ve run 10,000 miles, we usually keep our eyes stuck on the ten feet we’ve got to go, rather than the 9,990 miles we’ve come. We forget to celebrate the goodness, the providence and the wonderfulness of God.
I believe the Lord delights when we stop our race for just a moment, set down our plans and celebrate what He’s done. He’s done a lot, hasn’t He? In so many ways, He’s filled our cups, hasn’t He? Beyond measure, He’s done a good work, hasn’t He?
He’s carried us far.
He’s changed our minds.
He’s reshaped our worlds.
He’s increased joy.
He’s given us wisdom.
He’s gotten us out of trouble.
Take note of all that God has done.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil. 4:4
Uber scares me. I rode on it one time and I convinced myself I was about to be trafficked and brought to South America on first sight of the car. I was wrong. He was nice; I got where I needed to go. The next time, things took a different turn.
It was desolate and dark. I stood on the curb heart beating out of my chest, pondering whether to hide behind the nearby bush. I’d watch UBER wait for me, then see him drive away. Perfect! I could go inside to safety. I didn’t. I am glad, boy, am I glad, I didn’t.
“I am a Pre-K teacher,” the driver said, “You know, kids say all types of things.”
I nodded and continued, “One kid said to his misbehavin’ friends, ‘Aww…you’re in trouble…I am going to tell Jesus on you.’”
Little did she know – I know that kid.
He lives in me. He talks the same:
“You’re being insecure. I’m telling Jesus on you…”
“You’re not spending enough time with God. I’m telling Jesus on you…”
“You’re not acting nice to the family. I’m telling Jesus on you…”
When we believe Jesus is out to get us,
we have a hard time believing Jesus is out to love us.
“…You are trouble in Jesus now! He’ll never bless you, help you, want you, lead you or provide for you now, you little delinquent.”
God more resembles a punisher than a lover.
Does Jesus ever feel more like a high school principal than the Prince of Peace?
People avoid principals! They take the opposite route, to avoid them. They fear his office. They know retaliation is prevalent. They fear him in a way where they forgo wanting to be near him. They keep safe distance. I do. I don’t want to get hurt, shunned.
Is this you?
7 Ways to tell if you’re Distancing yourself from God:
1. You fear God’s mean face before you think of his abounding grace.
2. You fear admitting wrong because you believe God’s compassion can’t be that strong.
3. You feel if you accept God’s good gifts, you will owe him something.
4. You think you are unworthy of forgiveness.
5. You are certain who you are and how you act, disqualifies you.
6. You work really hard to be loved.
7. You feel great when you’re great and a heathen when you’re horrible.
5 Truths that Move God from Authoritarian to Author of Peace
Remember, for children of God, God’s grace more than meets the strength of mess-ups. There’s no ounce that can stand under the power of the cross. “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Ro. 5:20)
God’s love requires nothing from you, but gives everything to you. When you receive and then receive some more, suddenly you start to believe God is good, truly good. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Meditate on the idea… If Jesus died for us while man treated him like the scum of the earth, if he received whips and lashes on the account of our sin, if he died a slow an agonizing death and won – won’t he continue to forgive you today? God demonstrates…love…: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Ro. 5:8)
Say, “I am sorry. Forgive me God.” It will restore you every time. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps. 103:8)
Believe this: God isn’t a rule-master, but a Master who knows his love, law and liberty will set us free. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:30)
There is no punisher hoping to hurt you. The complete sum of Love pursues you.
Will you let him in?
God doesn’t love you dependent on good actions. He doesn’t disqualify you based on your wrongs. He won’t outcast you because you look different. He sees past your personal convictions of guilty. He released you 2000 years ago – when Jesus paid for it all.