1 Corinthians 13:4-8(NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
I was reading Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love & he recommends inserting your own name into the verse above in place of 'Love'. So, 'Kelly is patient, Kelly is kind', etc. And then he suggests that you ask yourself, 'How am I doing w/ loving others & myself'? And I was convicted. I realized I was not always kind (especially to myself). I was not patient really ever with myself or others. And I did sometimes keep record of wrongs. I got on my knees and asked God for forgiveness but I also went to those that I was keeping a record of wrongs w/ and apologized. God has granted me - thankfully - with a humble heart. And I feel like doing this exercise at the end of each day has softened my heart even more (and my heart was already quite tender). Through knowing Him more intimately, I grow in love. And that's the idea.
The Bible is a total of 66 books by about 40 different authors over 1,000 years (thanks Jeff Bethke for that fact). The Bible is seriously spectacular. And each book of the Bible has an underlying or overriding theme of LOVE. God's love for all of us - through these people's accounts in the Bible - is astonishing. If you have yet to read the Bible or even if you have only read parts, gosh.....pick it up and spend an afternoon diving into Scripture. The stories of love - tragedy - triumph - heartache - wandering -healing - suffering......are everywhere throughout the pages. And the diversity in the Bible is superb. We are provided example after example (hundreds) of how to love like Him (in application).
I personally love the story of Ruth. You can go to your Bible to read the details of Ruth's walk w/ Him or a great study of Ruth is written in IF: Equip.
Here is this woman whose husband has died and she is following her mother-in-law into essentially the unknown. I love how Ruth stood with Naomi (her mother-in-law) despite the grave circumstances. SO many people would run the opposite direction yet Ruth tells Naomi that she is sticking w/ her - no matter what (Ruth 1:16). Can you imagine Naomi's relief? I mean, Ruth lost her husband while Naomi lost her husband and two sons. These women were broken - completely wrecked. And yet Ruth was thinking of Naomi - how selfless. And Ruth was willing to inconvenience herself and take risks that most wouldn't exchange for 'safety' of home, to go with her. Gosh, may we all be like Ruth.
And every step of the way in Ruth's journey with God, she is listening to Him - she is obeying Him despite her own fears, confusion and heartache. She humbled herself by gleaning in the fields (I can relate to this) for work. She didn't complain, she just did the work. Talk about humbling.
And God - despite her severe trials - continues to bless her in the midst of them. And oh how God loves her! The obvious redemption in Ruth's story is when Boaz shows up (smile) but I think redemption started the day she told Naomi that she would travel & stay with her.
The story of Ruth has always held a very special place in my heart. I can relate to her as I am sure many women can. In my opinion, Ruth's story is one of this dual nature that often accompanies true Godly love: tragedy, heartache, pain, joy, tenderness, loyalty, blessings, high highs and low lows. Ruth's life was filled with so much trauma yet so much love and sweetness. And God blessed her with love while in a relationship but also without. God blessed her greatly through her friendship with Naomi.
When I think of the story of Ruth in the Bible, I want to love like she did. I want to behave like she did. She is such an example of loving others well.
Included below are some biblical verses for all of you to read. I urge you to read the stories surrounding these biblical verses as well. And maybe ask God to help these verses come alive in your own spirit - your own life - as you go out today to love on those in your life.
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:12-13