Love is ... Colossians 3.12-14
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In the 1970s newspapers, there was a little cartoon called Love is . . . It featured a male and female wearing big smiles and nothing else, with simple words about some aspect of love. As a girl, I would scan the pages of our nightly newspapers, cut them out, and save them in envelopes. One of my favorites:
Love is . . . being able to say you're sorry.
Paul's next thoughts could be entitled "Love is ... so, let's love all the way!"
Take a look: You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. Colossians 3.12-14
Hmmm ... how beautiful is that? We are to lead with love, because in Christ, we have been dearly loved. Radically changed by his love, you and I are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and offer forgiveness when needed.
I was thinking back about Robbie ~ 18 years old. A lacrosse player, he had stepped forward to lead the campus portion of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Passionate about Jesus? Well mostly, I think he would say he thought being 'club president' would look really good on his college applications. Then a strange thing happened-in the summer between his junior and senior years of high school--he had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and it radically transformed him. In September, when I asked a classroom of sitting-room-only students what was different about Robbie...someone yelled from the back, 'Love just comes out of him!' Now that's quite a statement, isn't it?
Would you say your life is characterized by love? Would someone yell that from the back of the classroom about you? Are you given to compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness? Because those are the qualities of love. If not, then perhaps it is time to spend more time with the Lover of your soul, so that his love will rub off on you. Paul previously described this kind of love for the Corinthians:
Love is patient; love is kind.
Love does not envy; is not boastful;
is not conceited; does not act improperly;
is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs,
finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13.4-7
Love is of God.1 Love is why God created us in the first place, Friends. God did not create us out of need. He created us out of his love.2 God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that he may love and perfect them.3 It is in relationship with God that we learn about love, and the Holy Spirit's presence in us grows us into people who can know and express love.
Love is . . . of God, and may it be of us.
1. 1 John 4.7
2. John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason
3. C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves