The Greatest Gift

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  “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.”

My husband and I were talking about love yesterday after church.  Not our love for one another but God’s love for us.  Sometimes it’s hard to really comprehend love period and its even harder to comprehend God’s love for us.  I set out this morning to try and “define” love so maybe I would have a better understanding for myself.

When I first started going to church the Holy Spirit really started convicting me.  For those of you who have been convicted, you understand what I’m saying.  The feeling when the preacher is talking about YOU, or the song was written about YOU and our heart feels like it has been put through the wringer; we have been dissected sitting right there in the pew.

Then we feel the love; the love of God flowing through the members of the church who is now our new family – our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is a relationship where we loved them first, then we get to know them.  As we get to know them. there may even be some things we don’t necessarily “like” about them.  Because we loved them first, and love “thinks no evil”, we don’t feel the need to condemn them, we don’t rejoice when they stumble; we just endure our differences.  Just like with our parents, siblings and children; we love them but may not like them all of the time.

Now we are full of God’s love and we step outside of our family into our church family then into the world.  SLAP!  We don’t feel quite as safe loving all the “wicked” ones.  The ones who may hurt us, take advantage of our sweet spirit that was poured out at the altar.  We are vulnerable.  Here we have a choice.  We dam up God’s love that was poured out to us or we let it flow anyway.  1 John 4:17 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  The person that we are trying to judge whether or not they are worthy of our love, God’s love flowing through us,  is usually the very person who needs it the most.  Maybe God is wanting to use YOU to show His love but we choose not to.  We over rule God and put the fear of the devil before the love of God.   Furthermore, who are we to judge if they are worthy of our love (God’s love)?  Praise God He didn’t pour out His love on me based on my worthiness!

Finally, reverting back to my quest for the definition of love, I read this scripture:  “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ ”  John 21:15.  Jesus goes on to repeat this question 2 more times with the same basic answers – “Feed my lambs”, “Tend my sheep” and “Feed my sheep”. 

One of the biggest ways I feel God’s love daily is in the smallest things; when He shows me favor at the grocery store, when I get confirmation on a prayer through a casual conversation, the small intimate moments when I know it’s Him who is the giver of my blessing I feel His love.  I try not to stay so busy that I don’t recognize, see and feel those small blessings but sometimes I am.  I know God’s love because I see how He cares about what I care about.

When we love someone we do care about what they care about.  We care about God’s “sheep” because He does.  We love God’s flock of sheep and try to keep the wolves from harming them because He cares about each and every one.  Our natural, human condition causes us to be independent and self sufficient.  I can’t say that through my “natural abilities” I am a very caring person.  I would like to think I am.  However, God’s love for me and for you, causes me to care for you also; causes me to love you also.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.  God poured out His love for us over 2000+ years ago when Jesus was on the Cross and we were still sinners.  He still show His love for us everyday through the smallest of things.  Sometimes we just have to slow down and feel them instead of trying to analyze them in our limited capacity.  Don’t allow the enemy to dam up God’s love for you and through you….receive it and let it flow.  – Donna Warren



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