WHAT IS PASSIONATE LOVE!? Pursuaded to Pursue – Part 4

Doing Today . . . GOD’S Way! / Oct. 2
Weekly Bible Study Series by Cindy Lynne

I Looked . . . But I Couldn’t Find It . . .
What is Love? What is Love? What is Passionate Love?

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I looked . . . but I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find a place where God said what we were to do in order to BE loved by another person. I couldn’t find anywhere in the Bible that said to, “Pursue being loved.” That seemed to be a problem. Won’t we all do just about anything to be loved? I mean, isn’t love what we are all seeking? Isn’t being a Christian about love? Isn’t that what draws people to Christ? And then . . . the Bible doesn’t tell me how to get love!? It says, in fact to do the opposite . . . to give love
. . . to focus on loving others . . . even . . . at our own expense.

Our cries never seem to be “Let me love,” but rather, “Let me be loved” and what the Bible says, instead . . . is for me to love.

It does say that God loves us and it does not say we have to do anything to receive His love. It says the Father, Son and Spirit are one. It says we are to love Him as he loved us. It says that by giving a drink of water to someone we are doing it to Him. His way of showing us how He loved us was by giving up everything, including Himself to the point of death. And we are to love Him, as He first loved us. So, then love means we are to give up everything and even die for others . . . like He did. We are to do this for people who don’t do anything to get our love and who may hate us and who may be mean to or hurt us . . . whew . . .

Confusing as that just sounded – we already know all that . . . but I wonder – Do we know it? We are often so caught up in ourselves that even taking the time to address our moment to moment actions is something we do . . . you know . . . periodically. And then we go right back to being rude, impolite, selfish, demanding, etc., the next morning . . . or on the way home . . . as soon as someone irritates us or “gets in our way.” And if “they” try to keep us from doing or having something we want or have decided we deserve . . . well . . . watch out.

I know that kind of behavior isn’t right. But . . . What is love? What does it mean to love others as I love myself? Is love a feeling? Or an action? Or . . . both?

On this quest . . . I settled for a time, as most in the church have, on the premise that that love is an action. It is a choice. SO I will decide to do it. But what is it, exactly?

Though wondering about the feeling part of love, I acquiesced and begin to search for the rules and the “to do” list that would allow me to complete the work of “loving” that is commanded by the Lord.

Per my understanding of what a list might look like, I began to consider how I treat myself . . . for I am to love others as I love myself.

I feed myself. I look for ways to make myself feel happy. I look for ways to make sure I am comfortable . . . warm and safe. I search for ways to feel secure. I try to find ways to eliminate pain. I am understanding and protective and give myself grace. I look to feel loved . . . and as I thought and prayed about it, I, of course, turned to chapter 13 in I Corinthians – the greatest love chapter in the Bible. But as I came to verse 3, it said “What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others.” If love is an action . . . I couldn’t think of an action that would demonstrate love more than giving everything away and allowing myself to be burned!

To surmise . . . I don’t believe love can be just a feeling, for feelings are fickle. They change and move and spur us on at times to do things that are not in God’s will . . . that are not always good. If love was a feeling we could only truly love a few. And what do we do with them when we don’t feel that love for a season or we just “don’t love them anymore?” And yet, it can neither be just an action for if I sell all I have and give myself to be burned . . . BUT HAVE NOT LOVE . . . It profits me nothing. Even if I do all of those things . . . if I don’t have love . . . it means nothing.

Perhaps, then . . . it is deeper yet.

Love . . . hummm . . . simple and complex.

I began to search for someone . . . somewhere . . . who had figured out what love is . . . someone with some understanding. I found more than one well known person had something to say and I liked what they said . . .

Love is my decision to make your problem my problem. Robert Harold Schuller (1926–)

Agape love is . . . profound concern for the well-being of another, without any desire to control that other, to be thanked by that other, or to enjoy the process. Madeleine L’Engle (1918–)

Forgetting oneself is not a refinement of love. It is a first condition of love. Leon Joseph Suenens (1904–)

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael (1867–1951)

Ahhhh . . . each of those gave me an “Amen” moment! I love those moments when I can say “I agree!” Yes . . . that’s it!” “So BE it!” I may even think for a brief moment about how true or problematic that is in my own life and heart . . . but . . . then I’m off. On to the next busy moment . . . putting behind me the reflection and moving forward to the next topic, issue or duty at hand.

And, then I came to this quotation . . .

Christian love links love of God and love of neighbor in a twofold Great Commandment from which neither element can be dropped, so sin against neighbor through lack of human love is sin against God. Georgia Harkness (1891–1979)

hummmm . . . If I don’t love others . . . I am sinning. MY search became more intense – I have to know. I have to understand. I have to DO it!

But . . . again . . . What IS love? What is this love we are called to in order to fulfill the second greatest commandment – to love others as ourselves? The second part of the two greatest commandments given by Jesus . . . our Lord, our example . . . that if we get it right . . . we fulfill all the law!

I would like to venture onto a path of love as God describes it. For once we understand and pursue with reckless abandon loving others the way He calls us to . . . I believe our lives will be enriched with a depth of joy and peace beyond what we can grasp. We move then into the “works” that demonstrate our faith from a new perspective . . . with an unplanned zeal that allows us to surpass our own ways of thinking and doing things . . . progressing into those deeper works . . . so desired by God. The true “works” that demonstrate our faith.

An idea has dawned – Is it conceivable that our goal might be to become love, albeit imperfectly? There, striving to become like Christ instead of working in our own effort to perform loving acts? Perhaps the entire and only goal is to be like Him . . . for God is love. And then, if I am love . . . my motivation becomes different. I will now urgently and automatically be propelled and will abound in the work of loving actions. It is now . . . no longer coming from my intellect, where I act strictly out of obedience. Neither, is it stemming from emotions that ebb and flow and may bring different responses based on the moment or the day . . . although, my feelings will, also, now be different. Now . . . warm, heartfelt care and deep concern for others will pour forth from me in ways I can no longer prevent. And my spirit will no longer allow me to be unkind, impatient, rude, etc. I will feel that love. I now will cry from deep in my soul for the pain in their lives that cause them to be . . . UN loving. Tears will flow from a well inside of me. A well that is filled to overflowing instead of from my tear ducts. My responses to others lack of love for me will be different. I will no longer be mad. I will feel empathy. I will now be prayerful.

Love: The world says it is a feeling. The church says it is an action. But neither path seemed complete . . . not quite accurate. As I reread I Corinthians 13 . . . where God himself tells us what love is I came to a new belief . . .

I say . . . Let us BE love.

I Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love is kind . . .
KIND (gentle, tender, compassionate. A sympathetic attitude toward others, and a willingness to do good or give pleasure.)

Were the words I just spoke tender and gentle? Or did I, carelessly, just slice someone’s heart? Did the action I just insisted on doing consider how I might be sympathetic and compassionate . . . or did I stand on the position that I had the “right” to do whatever it was . . . that this is what I wanted and based on how I felt . . . Was it self protective and self serving or proactively kind? Was it based on “What about me”? . . . or . . . “How does this impact you”?

Love is Patient
PATIENT (bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.)

Did you just demand someone move, think, respond quicker than they were . . . because you wanted an answer? Because you wanted someone out of your way? Did you dismiss, speak rudely, ignore, yell, cuss or push them out of your way? Or did you wait . . . calmly, filled grace . . . toward them, while they processed it or thought about it or . . . were simply slower than you? Did you have to wait when you didn’t want to?

By the way, is it possible that maybe it is to your benefit to be patient with them . . . as are all the “rules” God sets forth for us? Maybe waiting is a time to be quiet and pray, perhaps thanking God for your blessings instead of feeling irritated by your inconveniences?

Did you choose (love) to suffer hardship, annoyance, misfortune or pain . . . for someone else’s benefit . . . even if it was all for their benefit. Maybe only for their happiness or perhaps it was so they would have the time they need to come to terms with something they need to change?

James 1: 2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Love is … NEVER (not ever; at no time)

JEALOUS (feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s success, or advantages)

How do you feel about others . . . remembering we are all called to (love) everyone, even our enemies. Do you “suffer” silently, wishing you had what they have or hoping they will lose it? Do you undermine them or spew poison about with gossip or turn what should be a time of joy for them into misery by your attitude and actions. Or, do you pray for their prosperity and for their continued success, happiness and blessings?

Love is NEVER (not ever; at no time)

BOASTFUL (to speak with pride, often excessive pride, about oneself or something related to oneself. Conceited, cocky, pompous, cocksure, vainglorious, egotistical)

What does your speech sound like? Do you brag? Are you frequently telling others about you? Your accomplishments? Your this or your that? What words most often come from your lips “I,” “Me,” “My”? Do you listen with humility and interest without cutting others off? Or do you interrupt to tell your story . . . to talk about you?

Love is NEVER (not ever; at no time)

PROUD (overbearing, self-important, disdainful, imperious, presumptuous. Proud, arrogant, haughty imply a consciousness of, or a belief in, one’s superiority in some respect. Arrogant applies to insolent or overbearing behavior, arising from an exaggerated belief in one’s importance: arrogant rudeness. Haughty implies lofty reserve and confident, often disdainful assumption of superiority over others)

What words do you speak into the air? Do you put others down? Do you outwardly or silently and privately think how much more talented, intelligent, successful, beautiful you are than others . . . or someone else? How do you carry yourself, hold your head? What do your eyes say? How do you communicate with your “peers” about others? Is there someone . . . anyone . . . you feel and/or believe you are superior to?

Proverbs 6: 16-19 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Or RUDE (Rough, harsh, or ungentle. Discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way: a rude reply.)

Rude behavior comes in many forms – disrespectful tones of voice, specific words of put down or dismissal, cutting people off mid-sentence or mid-behavior. It can be done with a flip of a hand, a look or a cock of the head. Really . . . how are you doing? Love is NEVER rude.

Love isn’t …
SELFISH (devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.)

Let’s be very careful in our consideration and analysis of our selfishness quotient. We so often justify doing what we want to do . . . and it is often at the expense of someone else. We use those “supporting motivations.” We find some way to convince ourselves that this is in their best interest, all the while, we are not being honest with the real, true, deep reason we decide to take some specific action. We are professional justifiers. I suggest we thoughtfully check this for, we are not loving others if we are primarily concerned about ourselves . . . and justification does not magically turn it into care and concern for others or …love.

Or QUICK-TEMPERED (easily angered, quarrelsome, testy)

How often do you snip at someone? Perhaps the person to ask is not yourself . . . we are able to extend such grace to . . . ourselves . . . and somehow seem unable to see ourselves as we really are. Have you been accused of being easily angered or quarrelsome or testy? Do you jump all over others if they oppose you or are “in your way”? Do you minimize it and say you are simply in a bad mood or have your “own things” to deal with? Maybe a survey from those closest to you is in order. A non-defensive, honest evaluation may be essential so that you can move closer to loving others as you love yourself.

It doesn’t keep a RECORD (an account in writing . . . or the like . . . preserving the memory or knowledge of facts or events)

Do you forgive and forget? Or do you “throw it out there” every so often? Do you keep score and “even that score,” you know . . . when it’s justified and “anyone” would do the same? Are you passively getting back at those who “think” they got away with hurting you? I suggest you may want to write down the offenses, pray about it or them . . . and then burn them. The Bible commands we forgive . . . and we will be forgiven in the same manner in which we forgive. Is there a record that Jesus could be keeping about your “wrongs” to Him? It is a choice to let offenses go. Yes. It’s painful and sems unfair. But whatever the Lord tells us to do if ultimately FOR us and will help us.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Ephesians 4: 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

of WRONGS (an injustice; Law. An invasion of another’s rights, something done to his damage that others do)

What was done may be indisputably wrong. We, however, are to keep no record of those wrongs. Just as through Christ, our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more . . . we are to keep no record of wrongs done to us. God is our vindicator. He is perfectly just and perfectly loving is settling all scores. All of our tears – he keeps in a bottle and one day. . . . every wrong will be made right. Jesus is the Lamb of God . . . but He is, also, the Lion of Judah. Trust Him and let it go.

Love …
REJOICES (to be glad; take delight)

Do we absolutely celebrate goodness???!

in the TRUTH (the state or character of being true; honesty; integrity; truthfulness)

Do you abound in joy when you see someone stand in honesty regardless of the consequences? When integrity is the measuring rod of ones decisions . . . when the heart and actions of others reflect what Christ would have done? Do you take note and thank them for the example and for encouragement they are in your life? Do you thank God for them? Do you stand with them?

but not EVIL (marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, harmful; injurious, morally wrong or bad; immoral)

Are you glad or happy when someone fails, is injured in some way because you are jealous or holding a grudge or have decided they “deserve it?” If we would not be glad if it happened to us . . . but are glad when it happens to “them” – we have a heart issue that needs to be addressed as we pursue loving others the way we love ourselves.

Love is always SUPPORTIVE (providing sympathy or encouragement, providing additional help, information)

Do you speak “life,” encouraging with your words? Do you give your time and energy to help someone else? Or do you blow them off with the belief you helped yourself and they can do
the same – You deal with your life and problems and I will deal with mine. Is what you do give based on your “extra” time or do you “go out of your way” to encourage and help others?

LOYAL (characterized by or showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiance, obligations)

Do you demonstrate faithfulness to those you have promised to commit to? Do you live up to your Word? Or do you change it up . . . when you “need” to, based on you and your feelings or “needs” at any given time”?

HOPEFUL (expectant; optimistic, confident)

Do you consistently expect change for the better . . . for spiritual growth . . . for goodness and blessing to come from others? Or are you anticipating they will be selfish or thoughtless?

and TRUSTING (to have trust or confidence in; rely or depend on, to believe, to expect confidently; hope)

Do you consistently look for the best, give the benefit of the doubt and cover others with grace filled mercy . . . believing they are caring for and about you . . . even when it is difficult to believe? Do you trust they will protect you and choose “right” behaviors?

Love NEVER (not ever; at no time)

FAILS (to dwindle, pass, or die away)

Have you ever decided that . . . you no longer “love” someone . . . ? Or . . . is your love unconditional?

For . . . LOVE . . . never fails.

Matthew 22:39-40
And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The video below is a tribute to the five missionaries that gave their lives and the people saved as a result as depicted in the movie “End of the Spear.” It is well worth taking a look at love in action. The kind of love Jesus lived and the kind we are called to. Please, watch this as part of this lesson . . . Praising God and remembering what true love is.

http://www.youtube.com Type in the words Another Hallelujah / Lincoln Brewster.

There is no greater love than a man would die for his friend . . . many would die for a good man, but who would die for an evil man? . . . that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . I die daily, take up my cross and follow Him . . . Here is our paradigm. Let’s bring it home.

We say that we love and yet . . . we go about doing what we want even as you cry. We say we love yet . . . we dismiss or yell when you inconvenience us. We say we love, yet
. . . talk negatively about those who are not as talented in some area. We say we love, yet . . . we just can’t “get over” what someone has done to us. We say we love, yet . . . there are some . . . we just . . . no longer . . . love. If I won’t give up my simple “rights” in the home or at work or school or about town . . . how will I ever love like like Jesus did? All of this is true, but we’ve heard it a hundred times.

The BOTTOM LINE is – When will I DO what God has called me to do . . . without excuse. HE told me to LOVE.

Jesus told us how to become love . . . will we hear it? Will we respond? Will we honestly acknowledge and address the internal, automatic responses we have to others and situations? Perhaps by analyzing how our current actions look and feel to others, we may be able to see that our hearts need to be circumcised. And, as difficult as it may be . . . asking those closest to us and keeping them safe when they answer . . . may be our only true assessment. If in my innermost being I am compassionate . . . I will not be able to respond in an unkind manner. If in my innermost being I am humble . . . I will not be able to respond in pride and arrogance.

I can choose to defend why I am the “way I am” or explain it away. I can be defensive and not listen . . . or I can take an honest look. I can choose to hear what others are saying. I can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart to me and to make me willing to be made into the image of Christ. Let us not forget that “All a man’s ways seem right to him . . . but in the end they lead to death.”

Then … Ultimately, if we will choose to sit with and spend time with the God of the universe. The alpha and the Omega, who sent His son so He could fellowship with us. If we will learn to be still and rest in Him and allow Him to care for us. He will speak to our hearts. We will begin to feel HIS deep love for US. We will begin to relish the time in intimate relationship and begin to know who we are … His own. His cherished. His beloved. Then we will be unable to walk in less than love for others.

It is here the we begin to become like Jesus.
Let us . . . become . . . Love.

PRAYER

Hallelujah! We praise you Lord . . . We approach your throne with praise and thanksgiving for you are the mighty one. The Lord of Lords, the King of Kings and we praise your name. You are great and mighty and worthy to be praised. Blessed is your name, oh Lord . . . Hallelujah! We praise you! We bless your name for you are Love. For you give love . . . love that is beyond our ability to comprehend . . . I confess, father . . . my sin of not loving the way you called me to love. I confess (ex.: rudeness, selfishness, impatience, etc. – fill in the blanks) __________, _________,_________ . I thank you for your forgiveness and your mercy. I thank you for your grace in my life. Cover me now, blessed, Lord . . . for I am a sinner, unclean. But you lift me up and rescue me. Help me now Lord to be like you. Oh Lord, give us your eyes to see others as you see them. Give us hearts to love them as you love them . . . as you love us. Mold us into a people whose hearts break for the lost, whose hearts hurt for those who hurt us, a heart that cries forgive them for they know not what they do. Give us hearts that bless those who curse us and help us pray for our enemies. Create in me a clean heart Lord. Remove my heart of stone and give me a new heart of flesh. Make me into love as you are love. Teach me to be humble. Show me how to listen to what others are saying . . . and hear it. Teach me to empathize and sympathize and care. Teach me how to speak so that others hear my love for them. Holy Spirit, convict me of my own harshness or unkindness or selfish ways. Draw me into a closer relationship with you so that I might emulate you . . . make my automatic reactions be the same ones you would have. Please, teach me to bless others with my words, my life, my presence in their lives. Let me think of them first – to love them and serve them before considering myself, including my immediate feelings. I long to be like you, Jesus! Remake me. I give my heart to you for that purpose and my life to you as a living sacrifice. I thank you, Lord, that you turn our obedience into blessing (!) our sorrow into dancing (!) and I look forward to what you will do in my life for others and for me . . . May it bring glory to your name! I bless you now . . . Hallelujah! Father, Son and Holy Spirit – I bless you now and praise you! In Jesus name I pray . . . Amen
. . . and all the people said AMEN.
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Practical Application

Watch: Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGr8as7pPBE

1. Define Love: ______________________________________________________________
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2. Ask God to reveal your own heart to you in the area of love. Then, list sins by name where you have not loved as you are called by God to love:
_____________, _________________, _______________, _______________
______________, __________________, ________________, ____________

3. Write out specific situations where you have not loved as you have been called by God to love:
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
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4. (This is the most difficult – but do you truly want to learn how to love as Christ loved?) Pray before doing this, asking God to create a clean heart in you and to allow you to see what needs to be changed. Ask Him to give you a new heart . . . one like His. Pray for the conversation and for all that will be involved. Invite the Holy Spirit to be present and to be with all involved in the discussion and to cover it with His hand of mercy and grace. Then . . . Ask those closest to you what you do that makes them feel unloved or for things they see in you that if adjusted would enhance your “love quotient.” Do not be defensive. They may not be accurate . . . or you may not be able to see it in yourself. It will probably hurt when they tell you. Sit . . . emotionally safe in the Lord and ask Him to reveal the truth to you about yourself and to show you how to change and fix any damage that was caused to others hearts and in your relationships. *Remember . . . the heart is deceitful above all things . . . for who can know it (? ) and all a man’s ways seem right to him . . . but in the end they lead to death. With this exercise we are inviting and allowing God to do the work on the heart that only He can do. Thank them, hug them and then go pray.

5. Be with God, the father, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter. Pour your heart out to them. Tell God how you feel. Share the pain and the tears. Share what you meant to do and be like. Feel the pain and feel the presence of the Holy God of Israel and know that pain brings gain. That this is FOR you. To heal you and to help you have beautiful relationships and to help you win souls for His kingdom. It is FOR you. Trust that and . . . begin now . . . to BECOME Love.

6. Write a letter to Him if it helps.
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

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