Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

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{3 Things About Love}

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. There are all kinds of things that get mistaken and misrepresented as love. Some are way off base; while others are close representations, subtle perversions, making them especially dangerous. That's a topic for another conversation, really. For now, let's just say culture has made a mess of love. What about the Christians? How are we doing? I suppose we've all had someone say they love us in one breath while their behavior tells a different story. Paul offered a precise and pointed description of love in his letter to the church in Corinth. It's a beautiful passage, really, but does anyone else find it's also remarkably hard?  

Here are just a few of the ways love behaves according to Apostle Paul:

Love is patient and kind. It is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude (or unmannerly). Love does not insist on its rights or demand its way. It is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged. It tells the truth. It never loses faith. Should I go on? For heaven's sake, he lost me at the word "patient" and "is not irritable."  Anyone else feeling like you fall incredibly short? I do. Especially when no one wants to sleep in on Monday morning after a super-long, über-exhausting weekend.

But, wait. Just about the time we want to bury our heads in the sand for fear of never measuring up, there's sweet grace. Thank goodness, we can breathe a sigh of relief. See, God doesn't expect us to measure up to His standard by our own efforts and in our strength. We simply can't. When we follow His lead, though, well, that's a different story. One of the distinguishing characteristics of a Jesus-follower is love. It's the thing that makes us different. The world should be able to identify us because of our extravagant love for God and for others. Here are a few things He's been teaching me about the tricky business of love.

1. On our own, we will never have the capability to love others well. Yeah, this one hits home for me. I know what it's like to lack compassion and genuine love for others when I'm stuck in my own pit of despair, concerned only with myself. Love doesn't do that, does it? Love is most concerned with others. Thankfully, Scripture says God is working in us giving us the power to do what pleases Him. It also says that we love because He loves. See, it's His love perfected in us and flowing through us. Once we experience the depths of His love for us and rest in that love, we can love others and love them well.

2. It's not just about the correct behavior; it's about the attitude and heart behind the action. You can say the right thing and even do the right thing without being motivated by love. For example, you can volunteer to serve in the children's ministry or on the cleaning team for your local church. No one would argue that's a good thing! However, you can't do the good thing and then complain because you have to do it! Chances are there's something besides love motivating you. It's just like when I look at my sweet, rock-star husband and say, "But, I want you to want to do the laundry." When love motivates you, you don't complain and do the good thing with resentment. Love and resentment can't exist in the same space.

3. If we believe God loves us, and we love Him, it will change the way we live. Here's the thing: Love needs to be expressed. It demands it. The most lavish expression of love known to man was carried out when God sent Jesus to die for our sins. And so, I want to do the same. I want God's love to compel me to action. I want everything I do to be a reflection of that love. Your heart will always give you away. And so, I pray that our hearts will be fixed on Him. That we love Him wholeheartedly, and that we remember how great His love is for us. It's the only way.

Be encouraged, sweet friends. He loves you so. Believe it. Know it. Then, love Him back with all you've got.