Crazy little thing called love
I grew up as your typical girl next door whose idea of love was very much centered around romance, passion and ‘happily ever after’s. I hate to admit it, but yes, I was (and probably still am) one of those hopeless romantics who loved love. Or the idea of love.
Romantic love was particularly attractive to me because the idea of a passionate, all-consuming love that could drive people to move countries, change their jobs or rush to the airport (cliched, I know haha) was intoxicating, almost. What’s not to love about love, right?
Many years later, reality, adulthood and more importantly, being taught good theology and being committed to a good church taught me that love is far from our classic definition of ‘romantic’. It’s more than that gooey, mushy sentiment we often associate with the word ‘love’.
What I’ve learnt about love over the years is that love is much more than a feeling. Much more than just passion. Or even big shows of affection. Love is sacrificial, wholehearted commitment. Love is being committed to Christ and His goals for His church, because His love was what enabled us to love in the first place. The love we can have for God and His people is only possible because God first loved us in His Son, in his propitiatory death on the cross, and by His Spirit transforming our darkened, stony hearts into hearts that could now love Him.
1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”.
Being in a diverse church like CERC has helped me understand that the shape and practical outworking of love may look very different individually, but all of it is centered on one reality – God’s radical, undeserved love for sinners that gathers His people to be one in Christ, and those people now striving to build up one another into the fullness of Christ.
Some of these instances of love below are quipped based on the lives of some of the people I have come to know and love in CERC, and others from observing the godly examples set by my other brothers and sisters in Christ. This is what I’ve observed and learnt about love:
- Love is leaving behind citizenship in a better country to plant a church and do ministry in Malaysia.
- Love is giving up a job you love to raise godly children who fear the Lord.
- Love is preaching your heart out each Sunday, because the church needs it.
- Love is teaching your Growth Group (GG) the Word, even when they look bored/sleepy/tired.
- Love is leading a department even when it’s difficult and you’d rather not. Love is stepping down because someone else more qualified can do it.
- Love is sacrificing sleep to work on the Word/serve the church. Love is knowing when to sleep more.
- Love is washing the dishes so that your other GG members can keep talking about what they’ve learnt. Love is leaving the dishes for tomorrow so you can talk to the rest.
- Love is talking to people, even when you don’t feel like it.
- Love is learning to listen, even when it’s hard.
- Love is showing up at church even when you don’t feel like it, because you want to encourage the rest.
- Love is driving halfway across town to pick up a friend to church.
- Love is letting your kids stay in church awhile longer while you serve because you want to love God’s family too.
- Love is learning to patiently wait for mum/dad to finish talking to other people.
- Love is swallowing your pride and apologising when you are wrong.
- Love is learning to rebuke a person. Love is accepting rebuke and repenting.
- Love is having difficult conversations with a brother or sister, out of concern for their holiness.
- Love is holding a brother or sister accountable to God. Love is being held accountable.
- Love is dutifully serving in church year after year without expecting a reward or praise.
- Love is cleaning/cooking/carrying/playing/singing/drilling, even when you’re not particularly gifted in that area.
- Love is sacrificing time on your studies to teach other students about this love.
- Love is committing to a church, despite having commitment issues.
- Love is facing persecution and not giving up, because of His love.
It’s definitely not an exhaustive list (I could go on!) and neither is it a checklist, but what it does is portray practically the shape and character of this Christ-centered, God glorifying love that I’ve had the privilege of witnessing thus far.
I do hope and pray that God will continue reforming my understanding of love through His Word, and using His church to model what this love is – on His terms. ♥ Soli Deo Gloria!
Posted on 14th February 2019