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Sunday, February 14, 2016

This Love Thing

It’s that time of year again. Valentines’ Day! You couldn’t pretend not to know it if you tried. For the last couple of weeks it seemed like everywhere you looked the color red popped out at you. I really admire the tenacity of retailers, sis. Even in the trying economic landscapes they held strong to the traditions of men, hoping for a seasonal boost in an otherwise dismal looking year ahead. That doesn’t sound too ‘doom and gloom’-like Does it? I hope not. I actually am one of those who believe strongly that God’s children are designed to thrive in these times as long as they play by the rules of Kingdomnomics rather than economics, and so the goings on in the world don’t bother me like that. But the worlds economics is a topic for another day; today we deal with the love thing, lol.

As I typed that last phrase, Tina Turner’s song ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ began to play in my head. And really, for those of us who know better, the genesis of Valentine’s Day is some pagan festival that really had nothing to do with love in the first place. How we got to where we had a need to set aside a specific day of the year to celebrate every little thing, I have no clue. Thinking through the fact that God has said to us that the greatest commandment is that we love Him first, and then love our neighbors as we love ourselves; it seems reasonable to me that the call to love is a daily demand that transcends the ‘celebration’ of love on any one specific day.

The frenzy with which the cards, the gifts, the romantic dinners and getaways are planned; the desperate spending and completely unwarranted (in my view) efforts to out-do each other in these ‘expressions’ of love at Valentine, completely baffle me. I guess I’m just getting old! Really, that must be it because I once looked forward to February 14th with some level of anticipation too. Did I hear you laugh? Well, you know sis that age and wisdom are not necessarily related so this is not about the number of years you and I have spent on the earth, is it? Or maybe it is that as I mature in my walk as a Christian I am seeing many things that I had previously accepted as ‘normal’ through new lenses. Or maybe, as my people say, ‘na de two-both-of-them dey do me’.... hee hee hee!

Seriously though, I just haven’t been able to whip up any excitement about Valentines’ day this year. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t question those who do. Like I said, I used to ride that train….. And who knows, maybe next year I will be singing a different song. At this time however, all I can see and feel deeply really is God’s love for me and how He has made this manifest in so many ways all through my life. God has been faithful, sis. He has! That He loved me enough in my mess of the past, that He loves me enough through my imperfections of today…. I can’t put a price on this. I simply can’t!

So here is where I anchor my thoughts and challenge to you today, sis. And believe me, it’s a personal challenge to me too. There is one major question on my heart, and it filters down into a series of questions…… Sis, check the level of your preparations for Valentines’ Day. Think about your excitement, the build-up, and the efforts you have made to get just the right card. Think about the effort that went into planning and selecting that red outfit that was just so right for today. Think about the passion with which you ran around from shop to shop, or browsed site to site trying to find that incredible gift that would ‘wow’ that special one in your life…

Think about it all sis, and then ask yourself: ‘When last did I spend so much time and energy and money trying to show God how much I love Him and how grateful I am for Him in my life?’ Ask yourself, ‘When last did I pursue my passion for God, for His word, for His face, His presence, with the same intensity with which I prepared for Valentines’ Day?’ Ask yourself, ‘When last did I excitedly plan and purpose time out with God - to be alone with Him and to love on Him as truly and as deeply as my heart can summon at any one time?

Do you get my drift sis? Do you really?

I tell you what? Let’s not even over-spiritualize this thing. Love is not only about us and God is it? Err…it is actually – any way you look at it, but let’s not go there now. Let’s look at our various relationships. It is a big question just how passionately, intentionally and consistently we pursue expressions of love to our husbands, children, friends, loved ones, colleagues at work, etc. I ask again, how did we get to where the effort revolves around one day, and then for the rest of the year we revert to status quo? Should the efforts to express love be more intense on Valentines’ day, birthdays, and at Christmas alone? Hmm!

Like I said earlier, when I think about God’s commandment that we should love Him above all else, and then love our neighbors as ourselves, I kind of see this whole love thing very differently, sis. You see, God’s love is steady and sure. It is consistent. It is persistent. It is passionate above all else and it is purposeful. It is a love that covers. It is a love that embraces. It is a love that forgives. It is a love that gives sacrificially. It is a love that only contends for our good. And it is a love that gives its fullest expression day in and day out.

Yes, sis. If we look at this love thing through the eyes of Christ then we should wake up every single day purposed to express love to God and to those around us in some tangible way. We would be constantly on the lookout for avenues to bless God with our time, our praise, our service. We would approach each new day with an attitude of prayer, asking ‘Lord, show me who I can bless today and how, so that I might deliver glory to You – which is my ultimate act of reciprocated love’. Sis, if we did this, we would be less prone to offence, more forgiving, more understanding, more giving. We would manifest love in its purest sense daily because it will emanate from the true position of our hearts. We would walk in the understanding that our daily expressions of love are our service to God, our obedience to His ultimate commandment, and well pleasing to His own heart. How amazing is that? I can’t describe enough how uplifting it is when God tells me that I make Him smile, sis…. when He lets me know that I am pleasing to Him. Simply awesome!

I don’t know sis… I don’t know if I have ended up preaching ‘at’ you. Please forgive me if I have. I really just wanted to get you to the place of realizing that God is worthy of so much more than most of us give Him and we need to rework this equation. We need to pursue Him with more intensity than we do the many material things, the many traditions of men, the many worldly achievements and aspirations that tend to consume our time and energy, leaving us too drained to give Him the best of us.

Sis, today is as good as any for you and I to shift our perspectives where this love thing is concerned; to refocus our hearts and to ask the Holy Spirit to help us do this. I pray you can see this as clearly as I do, sis. I truly hope so! I pray that the Holy Spirit will minister this to you with added clarity, sis. I trust Him to do that. I trust Him to always help you, as surely as He always helps me.


Be blessed sis…. for you surely are!

About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.