February 19, 2013 by A Girl Like Me
I was in college the first and only time I saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” It had just been released to theaters and so I waited in line with all the other faithful Christians, excitedly waiting to see it. I knew it would be moving. I knew I may cry. I even knew it would be pretty real to life. What I didn’t know, was that I was about to bear witness to the greatest love story ever in the history of time.
Yes, I bawled (out loud) like a baby. I went through a whole packet of travel tissues and then some. The movie ended and I was paralyzed. I had watched a man be tortured, mocked, spit on, ridiculed and ultimately killed and he was innocent. And then to realize that all of that was actually real and not only that, but it was MY fault it happened. Holy cow. I left the theater that night vowing never to watch the movie again, and I haven’t. So what does all this blabbing on about a movie have to do with our topic of love you might ask?
I guess I wonder if we get it. I mean, do we REALLY get it. No matter how fancy and romantic or graphic and horrifying the story of our Savior is, the outcome is the same. He died, an innocent man. And he did it to save all of us from being damned to hell. But more than that..I think the most crucial part in the story is that he CHOSE to do it. He chose torture and pain and mockery, and the fullness of God’s wrath purely for one reason….He loved us. And that love is something so powerful, so awesome, so limitless and so incredibly indescribable that it should do something to us. It should make us move.
We wanted to spend this month talking about love. Real love. The kind of love that doesn’t end in divorce or addiction or loneliness or depression or despair. We want the love that lasts. And beyond that, we want to be able to give that kind of love to someone else. And now that we’ve allowed ourselves to understand what love is and is not, and what the greatest kind of love we could ever have is- where do we go from here?
I was doing my quiet time last week when I read this verse: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) Ok, I know it’s a bit wordy so let me simplify it for you. What this verse is saying is that Jesus died for all of us because without his death, we were all dead. He did that because he loved us and so His love for us should cause us to move in such a way that we live our lives not for ourselves but for him. Got that?
Essentially, the whole point of understanding love is not so you can be a better person. It’s also not so that you can be a great wife someday and fall in love and live a happy charming life. Understanding love won’t necessarily make your life easier, happier, or less lonely. But what love, God’s love, will do, is it will change you. If you let His love control you and move your life in such a way that every step is done out of sheer gratitude for that love, you will be a different woman. And not only that, but you will also begin to express love in the way it was meant to be. The irony is that it won’t be your love people will see, but rather HIS love coming out through you.
Girls, we can do the ten steps to loving better schtick. You can help the homeless, read your devotions every day, lead as many small groups as your schedule can muster, but as 1 Corinthians 13 tells us; “…if I have not love, I am nothing.” God is not impressed by your goodness. He is not impressed by your humility and your ability to see how insignificant you are. What impresses him is Jesus and his unfathomable love for us. And that is why we so desperately need to make that love our sole life support. Because love as we see it on this earth is ridiculous. It fails us and leaves us wanting. It does not make us better at loving, but more cynical. However, Christ’s love, never leaves us with anything but fulfillment and great joy.
As this month slowly comes to a close, our hope is that you would first see just how deeply loved you really are. That you would know that this love God has for you holds no time limit or expectation. It is simply yours to receive. But may you also see that this love, it demands everything from us. Not because we feel obligated or a driven need to “prove ourselves” to God and others, but because we are so overcome by the vastness of His love, that we cannot help but to be moved toward action of glorifying Him and expressing HIS love to all those we meet. Don’t live your life as though you were nothing. Receive love…HIS love, and live.