Let’s see if you can name the artist who made these “love” songs popular? How about the year?
“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”
“I Will Always Love You”
“Love Me Do””
“Best of My Love”
“Do You Love Me?”
“Bad Case of Lovin’ You”
“You Can’t Hurry Love”
“The Power of Love”
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?”
“Love Will Keep Us Together”
Okay, maybe I’m showing my age, but some of these were really good songs! I’ll give you the answers at the end of this post. The point is that I seriously doubt any topic has been written or sung about in history more than love. According to Henry Drummond, love is “the greatest thing in the world.” Unfortunately, the word love has almost become trite through overuse. And yet the Bible is so clear that love is to be the goal of the Christian: loving God and loving others.
Last week on the blog I shared my verse for the year:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13. NIV84).
If you missed last week’s blog, you can catch it here: How to Be a Better Lover in 2017. I don’t know if the Holy Spirit will lead me to write 52 blog posts on love, but I do know that He is calling me to study this concept in His Word and live it out better in 2017. So this week, I want to share what God has shown me.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Jesus only gave one new command: Love one another. Think about that. He could have given us any new commands He wanted to. He’s God. But, no, just one. Love one another. That’s how people will know that we belong to Jesus–by the way that we love each other. So I asked the Lord, “How do you want me to love?” He said, “As I have loved you.”
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
I really like the King James Version:
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (emphasis mine).
Since I read that verse last week, I have seen it three more times in different places. God has called us to walk in love.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” (2 John 6, emphasis mine).
The more I study what it means to walk in love, the more I realize how little I do it. So, what the Lord is teaching me, I want to pass on to you. Maybe we can all be better lovers in 2017.
First, walking in love means walking in the Spirit. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. We get to choose every moment whether or not we will walk in love.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature…But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:16,22a).
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
If we want to walk in love (bear the fruit of love) we must spend time with the Lord of love. He is love. The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we will begin to reflect His ways. As we abide in His presence and surrender to His Spirit, He will work through us to love others, even those who hurt or mistreat us, aggravate us, get under our skin. That’s what God is making me so aware of in this season of my life.
I love a lot of people. I love my family, my friends, my students, my church family. I love my dogs, pizza, hiking, a good book and a good cup of coffee. I love a lot of things. But I don’t always act or speak in loving ways. I am easily offended. I talk about people behind their backs. I judge people in my heart. I don’t remember to reach out to people who are hurting. I have ill feelings toward those who have hurt me.
Does that sound like walking in love? No. But I spend time with God every day and read His Word. I’m praying to be more loving. And, honestly, the more I focus on love, the more the Holy Spirit is convicting me of those things I think, say, and do that are not loving. And He’s showing me that I won’t just love by default. It’s not in me. I have to love on purpose.
Second, love must be intentional.
We will never love by accident.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love…” (Colossians 3:12-14a).
You see? I have to get up every morning and choose what I am going to wear that day. I have never gotten up for school and had the clothes jump out of my closet and onto my body (I wish.) Real love doesn’t come naturally to our sinful natures. We have to get up every day and choose to clothe ourselves with the “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” that are the undergarments of love. And the only way we can do that is to be intentional about it.
One thing I have learned is that if I am trying to grow in a certain area, I need to surround myself with positive encouragement in that area. So I will look up Scriptures on love, meditate on them, memorize them, put them on notecards and stick them all over the house. Why? Because God’s ways are contrary to the world’s ways, and I spend most of my time living life in the world. I need to renew my mind in His Word to keep my heart on track.
I have much more to share with you in the weeks to come as God is teaching me how to walk in love. But don’t worry; I didn’t forget the answers to your quiz. As one of these (depending on your age) will invariably get stuck in your head today, may it be a reminder to walk in love. 🙂
“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”–Righteous Brothers, 1964
“I Will Always Love You”–Whitney Houston, 1992
“Love Me Do”–The Beatles, 1962
“Best of My Love”–The Emotions, 1977
“Do You Love Me?”–The Contours, 1962
“Bad Case of Lovin’ You”–Robert Palmer, 1979
“You Can’t Hurry Love”–The Supremes. 1966
“The Power of Love”–Celine Dion, 1985 or Huey Lewis and the News, 1985
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?–Tina Turner, 1984
“Love Will Keep Us Together”–Captain and Tennille, 1975
By the way, my favorite t-shirt company is called Walk in Love. They have a great ministry and make the softest shirts ever! What a great way to remind ourselves to walk in love (wear the shirt).