Roses may be red and violets blue but Love is… NOT poetry
My Dad’s wedding gift to us was a simple assignment. Read 1 Corinthians 13. Of course we were both already familiar with this passage, and studied it together during our courtship.
I remember us attempting this whlist in the first days of our newlywed high – with the best intentions, it seemed like the easiest task. Piece. Of. Cake.
But, I can safely say three years later – actually being married takes the words of 1 Cor 13 from “nice ” to NECESSARY!
When I heard this scripture at weddings it sounded “nice”, I would day dream about having this love one day. But now within a marriage I’m learning…
Love is not poetry, though it can be inspiring, beautiful and poetic
Love isn’t a fuzzy feeling
Love usually isn’t getting ‘your way’ by any means
Love doesn’t do the bear minimum
Love goes above and beyond
Love isn’t fleeting and thrill seeking
Love isn’t always social media friendly or retweetable, or likeable
Love has no filter and no hiding place
Love doesn’t play games
Love doesn’t have a plan B
You can’t “fall out of love” because you didn’t “fall” in to it
Love is a choice
Love is usually not the popular choice, but the best choice.
God is Love
God is Love, and if you truly believe this as a Christian it will transform your approach to loving your spouse, a sibling, colleague or stranger.
As I encourage you to (re)visit 1 Corinthians 13 today, I ask – can YOU love like this?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I Corinthians 13:1-8 NKJV
I’m pleased because of how your 1st class degree in biomedical science,
Hasn’t stopped you from being an usher,
How you raise you head high, directing others to the altar.
I’m pleased because of how you fear no evil in my name,
And rebuke demons through my grace.
You don’t shudder, when darkness lurks,
A child of light, my Father does unimaginable works.
I’m pleased by your ability to sit quietly,
Even when you think that you are right,
Better still when you know you are.
I’m pleased with you, for the persecution you took for my name’s sake
The odd stares and the empty sympathising from the lost,
The shaking of heads, as they carry sins weight.
I’m pleased because you turned down that six figure salary,
Because they asked you to dishonour the Sabbath,
You said “everyday is holy, but you should understand, Sunday is like Father’s day to me”.
I’m please because you’re slow to speak and slow to anger,
I’m pleased when you say “na thanks”, to the most sort after invitation to the party of the year.
I’m pleased because you didn’t approach Brother A,
Despite your craving emotions,
Even if he did smile at you a little longer than the others.
I’m pleased because you respected Sister B, all the way to the altar,
Abstaining and patiently waiting, without falter.
I’m pleased with your boldness among those who believe the least,
You boast about your God and shame the beast.
And your humility among those who believe the most,
Humble servant of Lord of hosts.
I’m pleased with you for giving up your favourite tv show,
Fasting, and putting your body under control
I’m pleased by how little the pride you acquire, and how great your gratefulness for my grace and sacrifice,
That I admire.
And when my father sends me, on the day of judgement,
I will know you, and I will speak merrily of you,
Because I’m so pleased with you.
‘And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.’ Luke 24:53 (KJV)
‘Stop crying: don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!’ Amen Jeremiah 31:16 (NCV)
Whilst listening to Premier Radio, I fell asleep after a predominantly lazy day in doors. I woke up to a sermon about truly being a child of God, delivered through Pastor Brian Broderson, the sermon really increased my understanding of Christianity as a lifestyle and not simply another religion, I was fortunate enough to have been a listener. The sermon that followed was perhaps what I needed in that very moment, as I had taken a day off from university to regain my strength and optimism because of the challenging days I’d been facing.
‘Consistency is the key to break through’ – Creflo Dollar
When I was listening to Creflo Dollar, deliver a sermon about prosperity, I realised that Christianity in a sense, is a life of trying, yes you are incapable of being perfect by your own efforts, but you can be perfected through Christ’s saving grace. So long as we try, I mean really try, how can we fail in Christ Jesus? I’ve heard the saying so many times, failure is not an option or you only fail when you stop trying, and I never understood what that truly meant until this particular evening. God loves a trier, its so easy to say actually, I think I’ll settle with my failure thank you very much and wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life. But finding the motivation to continue, to rise and rise again, reaching a new height every time; that takes courage, that takes humility and it takes God’s grace falling upon the spirit and giving us the strength to continue.
Every time I was challenged in whatever I was trying to do, I’d say to myself, that’s it Dami, God doesn’t want you to succeed here, move on. But then I came to the realisation that if you are able to give up so easily, you didn’t really want or need that thing, and if God gave it to you with ease, you may have misused it or taken it for granted. Take for example Will Smith’s character in the film, The Pursuit Of Happyness, how short would the film have been if he’d given up after his wife had stopped believing in his aspirations? Or perhaps if he’d given up after hearing no once out of the several times, when he went to give proposals. It doesn’t surprise me that the Novel by Chris Garden, should be a bestseller, because we somehow think that there is some secret to being successful, however I think its a combination of God’s grace + trying = success = happiness. Equating financial success to achieving happiness is another debate entirely, however reaching one’s goals can cause happiness, even if it only lasts a while. There is however one success that guarantee’s happiness, and that is submitting to Christ, loving God.
It is important to note that there are several triers in the bible, from Jesus all the way to his disciples, to Moses, to David, and the list goes on. Jesus tried to save the church, by presenting himself as the living word, and every time he was doubted, he would try and try again to give glory to God. He tried with such determination that he faced crucifixion for our sake, that we would one day have the opportunity to try, to overcome sin, to overcome the wickedness and weakness of our flesh, to be forgiven when we fall, so we can continue to try. Moses continued to fight for Israel’s freedom with the God given strength he possessed, and if he had given up, I hate to imagine what could have been – but I doubt God would have given him such responsibility if he didn’t have the courage to try. David continued to try to do God’s will, despite being pursued by Saul, he submitted to God’s will in his life, he trusted God, and fought battles until he was victorious through God’s blessing and made king of Israel. Whilst reading Luke 24, I came to understand, by God’s grace, that even the disciples were not always obedient and strong in faith, however following the resurrection of Christ, they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God – Luke 24:53. Emphasis being on the word continually, not once in a while, not until they sinned and then they gave up, but continually (KJV), all the time (NCV).
We are surrounded by inspiration to try, in the form of numerous biblical accounts, successful business establishments, careers, strong families, the abolition of slavery and racism, the overcoming of persecution, personal fears, once again the list continues. So when you feel like giving up, then you should pray to God for strength, to continue to try, with the hope of victory to come – Jeremiah 31:16. Amen.
Remember, consistency is the key to break through…