Marked by Love
Over the weekend, my husband and I drove a couple of hours down to Wrightsville Beach, NC to attend our friends’ wedding. I’d love to say that it was a beautiful weekend…but that just wasn’t the case. However, much like I said yesterday, God is GOOD and he was sure to bring in a small dose of sunshine just in time for their wedding ceremony on the beach.
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Ironically enough, the minister at the wedding spoke of the same thing that our minister spoke of just a couple of weeks ago (to listen to the original message, click HERE) – Love…specifically how we should love one another according to Jesus Christ.
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John 13:34-35 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

Months ago, I said that I wanted you to know that I am Christian by more than just my love. How am I doing? However, it is THROUGH MY LOVE that you will know that I am a Christ follower…not because of how many times I attended Church in the past year (or what church it was for that matter), not because of a bumper sticker on my car (or one of those fish symbols), not by the clothes I wear, etc. Most simply put, others should know that I/we are Christians because of our unfailing love for one another.
I actually ran across a controversial music video (above: Jesusland by Ben Folds) the other day that really caused me to question if I was fully committed to demonstrating this type of love. The kind of love that God wants us to demonstrate should run in us and through us…it should be unstoppable.
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And that is exactly the type of love that this wedding minister spoke of…the type of love described in Romans 12:9-13. As I listened to his message, I couldn’t help but ask myself two questions: 
  1. How am I doing (as it relates to loving this way)? 
  2. Does this type of love mark my life?
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If we are to love this way, that means…
  • Devoting ourselves to being affectionate, compassionate and courteous to one another. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” It doesn’t mean being moody. It doesn’t mean turning off when we’re not in the mood or pushing off the responsibility onto another person. It’s almost like the golden rule: treat others the way we’d want to be treated…or even better – treat others the way they want to be treated. Either way, loving this way includes affection, compassion and kindness. It also starts in a foundation of truth.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.”
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  • Honoring one another above yourself – unselfishness. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Philippians 2:3-4 says, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
  • EnthusiasmNever be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” This reminds me of my friends on their wedding day. You can just feel the love and enthusiasm for one another. They are beaming ear to ear…and each of the guests are hoping for them that this love continues to grow stronger and stronger. The kind of Love that God wants for us is much the same way. He wants us to demonstrate our love for one another (stranger or neighbor) in much the same way.
  • “Be joyful in hope.” Hope is future focused. Love is not meant to get bogged down in the minutia of everyday chaos but focused on the endless possibilities that something better is just ahead. Love doesn’t give up!
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  • Consistency“patient in affliction.” Regardless of what happens in a person’s life, love remains…whether it be within a marriage, a friendship, or with your children. People have a tendency to screw up from time to time. This kind of love that marks our lives isn’t fickle. It doesn’t turn it’s back on you when you’ve messed up, but keeps coming back. In your life, who have you given up on? 
I have certainly not lived a perfect life and for approximately 6-8 months prior to meeting my husband, I came unhinged. For that short period of time, I partied way too much, I dated a number of guys (all of which were completely wrong for me), and had my friends really questioning my judgement. Then I met my husband. He’d spent two years prior to meeting me in isolation (well, he didn’t date…conscious decision). So, when I came along – he was absolutely certain that I was the one…even if I wasn’t quite sure at first. Within seven months, we were engaged. 

I recall several of my friends being shocked and a bit worried – again, they were still questioning my judgment and unfortunately my husband took the blame. In some cases, I had friends that completely turned their back on me…and who later felt like to come to our wedding would be supporting a bad decision…a failure. The kinda love God wants for us isn’t like that. When our loved ones are falling, we pick them up. Like a mother loves her child no matter what that child does, we are to love one another in the same way. 
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  • Finally, we are to be “faithful in prayer.” When you’re praying for someone, you can’t be mad at them. As I said in last week’s message (I think it was last week), as long as we’re praying for God to be glorified, anything is possible.
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So, if this is how we are to love, why don’t we always love this way?
  1. We’re afraid. If we love this way, what if it backfires?
  2. We’re passive. We need to be asked to do something rather than just doing the right thing.
  3. We’re preoccupied. We just don’t pay enough attention to the needs around us. We simply don’t notice when someone else is falling.
Now is the time for us to start owning up to the responsibility of not just loving when it is convenient, but loving even when it’s not. With that in mind, do people know that you are a Christian simply by how you’re willing to love one another? Are you truly marked by this kind of love?

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Have a wonderful Tuesday!