Speaking with a friend tonight while out for a quick coffee (after returning home just a few hours ago from our 600 mile drive down from Virginia today). She was talking about a verse and it really caught my attention and got my mind going:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” I Corinthians 13 v. 1-3
I am finding that my connection with God is making me smile more these days. Time with my son. A few short minutes hearing a friend talk about the son she is adopting. A date with Patrik. I just want to burst out with “I love Jesus.” Not as a stupid thing that a Christian needs to say, but it’s a genuine welling up inside my self. It feels warm, like sun and it radiates from the core of me. I feel Him more and more these days in such new ways. So, this verse got me thinking on my way home tonight… I speak in tongues. I can prophesy. I must have a little faith because I believe Jesus a lot of the time. Yet, in other things I haven’t met the normal criteria. My friend was talking about a class she’s in where they are studying the above scripture and trying to hold each other to a higher standard of what they say and what comes out of their mouths. Man, I honor those people. I respect their efforts, including my friend’s effort. I am so not there, I don’t have any more effort to give to being better any more, and that is where the verse entered in.
I’m not there, but I do have some love. The Spirit of God has made me His home and sometimes love wins and actually shows through.
I know love does not show itself through me very often at work. I am a total miserable bitch when I’m there, probably about 99% of the time. Seriously. I hate it. It feels like prison. So I lack tenderness towards the people I work with every day… but deep deep deep down in me when I sit still, I don’t hate the people I bitch about. I care about them. I may even love them some. I may even feel some compassion for them.
Love doesn’t show through me at home often enough. Impatience with Elijah. Insecurity with Patrik makes me defensive. I mean, when I walked in the door from having coffee tonight and this post was being born inside my thoughts, we had a little argument because we’re both exhausted and short tempered. Yet, when I am still and quiet and put my eyes on Jesus, I love Patrik so much that I can feel how we fit together and how good it is to have him in my life. I love him.
So I kind of switched around 1 Corinthians 13 in my head:
I don’t speak in tongues often these days, but I sometimes slightly feel compassion for someone I’m otherwise usually frustrated with. I prophesy a little bit every now and then, but I don’t know of any times when my faith has moved anything remotely close to a mountain. However, I have loved my friend who was broken over her loss. I tend to hoard the little money we have and can’t seem to figure out how to keep a normal budget, but my son delights me and my love for him spills out of my heart and my smile every day. It’s amazing! I haven’t sacrificed much as far as my body is concerned. I eat pretty much what I want when I want it. I am comfortable most of the time, but I love Patrik, even when we misunderstand each other. I love Jesus.
So you see, I can’t and don’t measure up to a lot of those things that verse mentions, but I can think of love that I have in situations and for people. That love is growing and it’s changing life. It’s happening in a different way. It’s organic and without much effort. It’s God. I don’t know what else it is.
In 1 Corinthians 13 God seems to be saying love is more important than what you can do. I have love! I fail. I hurt people. I can put up an attitude or a hardness that shuts people out and sometimes I don’t even know why I do it. I curse like a sailor and really enjoy it most times. I can’t figure my life out or why I can’t get out of a job that I feel imprisoned in, but I have some softness left in my heart. There is no “if” here, God IS taking that little section of softness and IS infusing it with His life and smile and ways, so I am on a path that pleases God because I have love and that means I have God himself. No wonder that’s more important to Him than our actions. We are so obsessed with changing our actions.
People, God is love.