You have probably heard the scripture used in weddings that starts with “love is patient“. It’s interesting the author of that text lists patience as the first description of love. However, if you really think it through, we all know true love can be painfully time consuming and requires a LOT of patience.
It takes 5 minutes longer than you want to show love (instead of lose your cool) when you are enduring a slow checkout clerk in love. It takes an enormous amount of time and patience when trying to teach a child a valuable lesson. It takes years of forgiveness and grace as you patiently work through long term relationships. And, some of the most challenging “love opportunities” seem to happen in the most inconvenient times.
Like John Mark Comer explained in his devotional called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (available on Amazon), “Love is painfully time consuming. There’s no shortcuts. No life-hack. No killer app. It takes an enormous amount of time to love well. Love and hurry are oil and water: they simply do not mix.” John Mark Comer
Slow Down for Love
When I was in our high school’s Driver’s Ed class, my teacher would practically sing the words “slooow doooown“. I still impersonate him ’til this day when I say those two words to my husband when he’s driving. I believe that is what God is screaming to us. In order to really love people, we have to slow down. We need to fight that desire to hurry through our day, which is an extremely difficult task for a type A personality like me who wants every second of the day to be “busy” as possible. But, busy isn’t always productive.
Have you ever noticed Jesus did not run from location to location yet he was productive? Jesus wasn’t too busy to stop and talk to someone. In fact, it seemed he moved painfully slow – even when coming to people’s rescue.
“God walks “slowly” because he is love. If he is not love he would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed.” – Kosuke Koyama (Three Mile an Hour God)
Too Busy for Love
We live in a world today where people seem to think being “busy” and in a hurry is how all successful people live. But like Nate Gallagher mentioned yesterday in Bible Study at Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, Jesus values simplicity over success. If we weren’t racing to the next goal or achievement, and we wouldn’t need to hurry. We could afford to be less busy, less hurried. We could afford to love more – and THAT is what God values most.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22: 35-39
Your Neighbor Needs Love
We often think of love as the kind of love we show to our family or spouse, but God desires us to show love to everyone – which means the community, church friends, acquaintances, the person cutting you off in traffic and that one annoying person in your life that is driving you crazy right now (yeah, we all have one of those people God uses to grow us! lol )
But. how do we show a stranger love? Easy, Paul tells us exactly how to do it, but for some reason we often only think these instructions are just for marriages. I love how the Message translates this text.
Love never gives up.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
THIS is how we love. Love is an action. It’s work. It’s time consuming. It is something we can get better at with time. It’s not a feeling or an emotion. It’s a decision. God wouldn’t command us to love if it was not something we couldn’t improve. But, if you are like me and you really want to love people more, it is going to require making changes. It’s going to require sacrifice. We not only need more margins in our day to have the extra time to show love when the opportunity arises, we need more time to be a part of a community that needs more love – whether it is the Garden Club or church. This is my weakness, but God can help me improve.
God is Love
We just can’t say we are going to slow down so we have more time to show love. We must figure out eactly what needs to change in our life so we CAN slow down – and that is going to require more time with God because all love starts with thim. We are to make the time to love God first. Then He can pour His love into us so we can love others. Plus, he can show us what needs to changes so we have the time to show love everywhere we go.
- Do I need to get rid of something?
- Do I need to work less and make less and have less?
- Do I need to learn to be more content with what I have?
- Do I need to change my schedule or do I just need to change my heart?
- When am I the least likely to show love (late to an appointment, driving, working, etc)
No matter what the answers are, there is one thing I know for sure. We need more of God, more of His love. If we want to love more, we need His help, correction and direction. I need it, you need it, this world needs it. XOXO
Want more motivation? Check out my blog, How to Run an Not Grow Weary