Today’s culture has the word Love and Lust confused. I also believe we have the idea of enjoyment and love confused. We think in order to love someone or something, we must desire it and enjoy it. However, as I read 1 Corinthians chapter 13, that is not the idea of Love that I see portrayed. The world wants love in it’s time table, however it sees fit. Yet as Christians, we have to look from Love from a Biblical perspective -and that is very different. We are called to be different- and our love is no different.
The first thing that caught my attention was what I am like if I don’t have love- I am annoying! I will never forget when I was in middle school band. Whoever thought giving 12-year-old boys cymbals were a good idea were out of their minds! When those drummers got a hold of the cymbals, well, let’s just noisy and annoying had the same definition in my brain then! My brain also was quickly turned to a few verses in Proverbs that struck a tight cord with me:
Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.”
– This same concept is stated again in Proverbs 25:24- Worded the same way! We need to watch out in scripture when God says something more than once! I think it means we struggle with it more!
Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to live in a desert land
than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.”
Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel with quiet
than a house full of feasting with strife.”
I hope we get the idea. No one wants to live with us when we are living lives that are not filled and lived out in love. I don’t want any member of my household to think that they are living with this kind of woman. If I am honest most of the time they probably feel like those verses in Proverbs probably fit me better than the verses that follow in 1 Corinthians 13. So, how do we put on this fruit called Love?
The next thing that stood out is that love is not affected by our knowledge – even our knowledge of the Bible. I think a lot of times, we only think we can live out these character qualities if we have a lot of Biblical knowledge and the truth of the matter is, that just isn’t true. The Spirit of God resides in you after you accept Christ as your Savior.If He lives in you, He can move in you! Although Knowledge can be HELPFUL it is USELESS if it isn’t used in love. No one likes to be bossed but especially if they feel like we are just doing it out of head knowledge. This is true of our children as well. Although they need someone to tell them what to do, to guide and to disciple them, they need to know that it is out of love. They need to know we train, disciple and discipline them from a place of love not just knowledge of good and evil. We want to reach their hearts – not just their brains. I want the obedience that my kids give me to be out of love AND respect out of truth AND love. I want there to be a profit from the lives that my kids leave. The Bible is clear that we should:
Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.”
So, the practical question is- how do we do this? How do we train and teach in love? Well, that is what we find in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. This kind of love is a choice- a choice we make every day. It goes beyond what we are able to do in our natural self- we must be allowing the Spirit to have control to love this way. This kind of love only comes from God. We have to die to ourselves, laying aside our wants and desires, and looking out for what is best for those in our lives. The more we become like Christ- the more we are able to love like Him too.
We have to be patient (a whole different fruit we will talk about) and kind. Funny how those words are grouped together. Oh how patient and kind God has been with me. When we struggle with being patient and kind with our children- let’s sit out for a minute, and write down three times God has been patient and kind toward us. Thank Him for that. That time of thankfulness will produce the right heart- and love- that we need in order to deal with our little one (or maybe even a spouse or friend!)
It doesn’t envy, boast- it is not arrogant or rude. How are we responding to our kids? Are we using sarcasm or cutting remarks- or are we doing the opposite, and building them up- even when they are acting in way that does not please us. How does God respond to us when we are misbehaving. He never cuts me down, or speaks ugly. Often, He speaks the truth- and it may sting- but He always speaks with love in His tone and receives me with openness. Don’t close yourself off from your kids. This also reminds me not to try to live THROUGH them. Help them explore the gifts and talents that God has given them. We need to not expect them to be us.
Rejoice in Truth with your Kids. Discipline with Love. Give yourself the break when you need it. I call it Mommy Time Out. If I can’t respond in love, I try to step back. I notice I don’t respond in truth with love when I am not taking the time to meet with God. When I am living in patterns of sin- my kids are usually living in similar patterns of sin. Be sensitive to this.
We must be able to bear all things, believe all things, endure all things and hope all things with our kids. God is going to use them to teach us. Sometimes, the things they are going through are more for me then they are for them. Look for these teachable moments in your kids lives – and for your own.
I want to end with the encouragement I got from the end of the chapter. When I was a child- I spoke as a child. How often am I speaking like a child to those around me- including my kids. When I am not choosing to walk in love, I am often walking in my own self- and that is a very selfish and childlike place to be. I want to remember that I am the adult in these relationship- and although I want to give myself grace- I sometimes just need to take a time out and get myself back in the right child-parent relationship with my Heavenly Father before I proceed with my kids.
It is time ladies…. let’s quit trying to do it all… lets take off the cape… and put on Love.
Disclaimer: This post was written while reading the book “Putting on the Spirit: Ten-Minute Devotions for the Busy Mom” by Katie Hornor. Please check her out at Paradise Praises. All content listed above is from Mandy Kelly’s personal study of the word of God, while doing this Devotional.
Worshiping With My Life,