27 Aug Growing In Love
In this article, I want to introduce a new series in which I share some of the things God is currently teaching me. Spending more than fifty years as a Christian has taught me one thing: As long as we live here on earth, we never “arrive” spiritually. We are not done growing, and God is not done working on our hearts! What a joy it is to see God’s grace at work in my life even now, guiding and helping me to become more like His Son.
These two passages, about the importance of loving others, have meant a lot to me ever since my early days in Christ:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:9-17)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…. And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13)
Although I learned these great teachings as a young Christian, in the last several years God has continued teaching me to become more expressive and loving towards others. Now that my four children are married, with families of their own, I don’t get to see them every day and express my love in person the way I used to, but I still do my best to express love and gratitude through phone calls, emails, and texts. I have also sought to do this with their spouses and my grandchildren. These efforts have been richly rewarded with deeper closeness with my entire family, a wonderful blessing.
My wife Geri and I recently celebrated our 49th anniversary. God has graciously and persistently taught us throughout the years of our marriage. We have thus realized that the longer we are married, the more our marriage needs to be consistently nurtured by words and affirmations of love and affection. This expressiveness protects our love from growing tired or dull with the passing of years.
God has also taught me to be more communicative of love to the brothers and sisters in my local church, and to friends in Christ who live in other cities. Staying connected to friends from other places takes consistent effort. Let us stay in touch by calling, texting, emailing, and even visiting in person. The result of this will be deeper closeness and encouragement, and the chance to relive joyful memories from our shared history.
As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:9, “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.” May we all grow in love more and more as the years go by!
*Watch the video discussion here!