These are familiar words, but they never get old. This passage was the chief scripture we studied at a retreat last weekend. While I was listening to Beth Moore talk about it, I had a revelation.
God is love.
No, that’s not a new thought. I’ve known that all my life. Here’s the new part:
God has poured His Spirit into me. So when God fills me with love, He is filling me with Himself.
When I love others, I’m not just imitating God, I’m expressing His nature.
When I love others, I’m not just obeying Him, I’m doing what He does. He is loving them through me, in my, by me.
With God filling me with His loving nature, loving others should be effortless. So why do I fail so often?
It’s like there’s a window in my heart. It gets dirty pretty quickly and if I don’t clean it, God’s love doesn’t shine through. It gets smudged with insensitivity, busyness, cluelessness (yes, I’m often clueless) and just plain selfishness. I can’t clean it, but God will if I ask Him to. When I let Him keep it clean, His love will overflow to the people around me.
This week, I’ve been whiny, insensitive and frustrated. I’ve hurt people instead of loving them. I’m grateful that God kept on loving them without me. I’m also grateful that He let me see how selfish I’ve been and forgave me for it. And because He also lives in the hearts of the people I love, they are willing to forgive me too.
Understanding God’s love and loving others is complicated. It isn’t effortless. But He is the source, so I can trust that He will shine through in spite of me.
It’s because He lives in me that I can love others.