Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Loving on God's Terms

Loving on God's terms.

 I'm going to explain what exactly that means to me here in a bit. But to start, I'm going to talk about the OPPOSITE of loving on God's terms. Loving on OUR own terms or somebody else's terms. Out of the two, I think it's pretty safe to say the second is usually the most common.
When we love on our own/somebody else's terms, we allow the way another person treats us, to affect how we treat them. They give us attitude, we give them attitude back. They speak harshly, and we spit cruel words right back. We offer the same unkindness that is handed to us right back to them. We love based on their emotions towards us, and our emotions towards them. 
Sometimes it comes naturally in the heat of a moment, and sometimes it's a series of anger and bitterness built up towards an individual that causes us to mistreat them. We allow them to determine how we're gong to treat them, instead of choosing to love them regardless. 

Now that you get the idea of loving on the opposite of God's terms, you probably are starting to get what it means to love on His terms. 

Loving on God's terms, is not loving with emotion; which seems to me to be the most common form of "love"
Loving on God's terms is CHOOSING to love, whether our emotions want to or not.  

Loving on God's terms is doing our best to extend the same love to others that Christ extended to us. 
The world has lots of it's own ideas of "love" and what it should look like. But we have already been given the perfect example of love by love himself.

"Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, has been born of God and knows God. For God is love." (1 John 4:7) 

Love is from God. Love IS God. What the world tries to convince us love is, is counterfeit. It seems to serve the same purpose, but in the end is worth nothing. But loving on His terms will never leave us empty. 

Romans 5:8 says that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 
NOT "why we were making Him happy, Christ died for us." 
He died for all the times we knowingly deny Him. He died for every time we hurt him and disappoint him. All the times we choose something else over him. All the times we claim to know him, but let hate drive us, instead of love. Instead of Him. He CHOSE to love us. No matter how we made Him feel. Because of who HE is, not because of who we are. 

We should love because of who we are through Him. Not because of who anyone else is to us.

1 John 4:9 "We love because He first loved us." 

Tremendous love was extended to us. Love that most wouldn't even think possible. A love so strong that NOTHING could overcome it. 
The greatest love the world has ever known. 
Now who are we, to turn around, and choose not to keep spreading that tremendous love based on our own human emotions? It's quite pathetic for us to do that, actually.

I have always loved this quote from Martin Luther King Junior, and I think it fits perfectly:

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Love can overcome any darkness. When firing back that hatred and unkindness only drives the darkness deeper. Why would you choose to increase the darkness?

No matter how anyone else treats us, we are to CHOOSE to love them. Because God chose to love us. He loved us at our very lowest point.

"Let us not love with words or tongue but with ACTIONS and truth." (1 John 3:8)

In my very first post, I wrote about "joy" and how God taught me that joy isn't a feeling. It's a choice. For the longest time, I struggled with thinking that some people were just too hard to love. That no matter what I just couldn't bring myself to love them. But He has taught me that love also isn't just a feeling. No. it's a choice as well. I emphasized the word "actions" in the above verse, because it's proof that love is not just a feeling. We are called to love through actions.
I may not want to be around someone, I may not like the things they say to me, I may not even necessarily "like" them. But I can still show love to them through my actions. By choosing to speak kindness and love instead of returning the unkindness.
Regardless of anything it is my job as a child of God to choose to love them. Because my God chose to love me.

I know my blog is all about choosing joy. But I encourage you to CHOOSE LOVE. Because when we choose love, we are showing the world Jesus. Even the simplest choices to show love can reveal Him to others. For wherever there is love, there is God. For God is love.

Choose love today, friends. :-)