I was reading Becoming the Answers to Our Prayers (a book my best friend Betsie let me borrow while she is in Thailand). In the book the authors were talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. If you have grown up in “church”, like most people in the south have, you will probably know most if not all, the fruits of the Spirit. They are – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I thought it would be such a good learning and growing experience to really try to put them into practice. I started with “love” last Monday; I’m still working on love. I have read 1 Corinthians 13 almost everyday this week. And every time I read it I realize how little love I show. Verse five gets me every time. It says, "Love does not demand it's own way. It is not irritable.” Love is sweet and all. But why can't I have it my way? I think my way is the best. But God said no, my way isn't the best. His way is. Still, being selfish can have a few perks.
In Radical, David Platt talks about reading 1 Corinthians and replacing the word love with your name. For example: “Candace is patient and kind”, and so on. So you can imagine by the end of the chapter you feel pretty crappy. I think that’s the point. I sat there the first time after doing this seeing how much I need to change. So this has been my challenge for the week. I thought by today I would be doing pretty well at being loving. I was very delusional about that. If anything it has been harder this week than ever. Or maybe it just has seemed harder because I’ve been thinking about it. I really don’t know. So, after I realize how horrible I am at loving other I put God’s name instead of love. Really thinking about how God is truly love; and He loves me. Me, with all my imperfections. This should make me feel better, right? No. How can I ever thank God enough for really loving me? I realized I couldn’t. A couple of days after I had really been talking to God and reading in the Bible about love I talked to my best friend Betsie, and she told me that I had to learn how to truly love God before I could learn how to love other people. On the surface that seems easy, love God. But I’m learning that it isn’t as easy as I thought. “Love does not demand it's own way”. I don’t think people even know how much I argue with God. Yes, I admit it. I argue with the God that loves me so much and knows what’s best for me. I know it sounds bad, but I do…a good bit. Most of the time, after I have argued with God and He still hasn’t changed His mind, I give in and do whatever He asks me to do. But do I do it for the right reasons? Probably not. But in my reasoning I have still done it, just not in the most loving way. And still God loves me, and created me knowing that I would argue and sometimes go against him, but He still thinks I’m worth loving. And this summer God is asking me to go to Nicaragua to love on people in Christ’s name.
So, my goal isn’t to learn how to totally love God in a week or a month, but to love God more each and everyday. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of times when I fail. But if I truly try with everything in me, that is the only thing God cares about.