Last weekend I got “The Message” New Testament. I’ve heard some passages from it and I like how easy it is to understand. I understand it’s not a word for word literal translation. But boy, do they drive the points home.
I’ve realized lately that when I obsess over my thoughts and situations, it is not God that is causing that. It is the devil. The devil will do anything to get my focus off of God, even if it’s onto other “godly things.” Anything that I think of more than God Himself is idolatry. I have committed a lot of idolatry in my life. I may blame it on my anxiety, I may blame it on wanting to live in Gods will, but no matter what I blame it on, the truth is I have idolized my thoughts. I have idolized my current situation, my future, and my past. I think about where I am right now and if there is where I should be, or if I made a mistake in my past that held me back from being where I should be right now and in my future. But the truth is I am to live and obey and love and believe RIGHT HERE.
It’s no coincidence that all of the books of the Bible that I’ve been reading lately have been about love. I’m a 22 (almost 23) year old girl, and love is a major thought in my brain and on my heart. What I’ve noticed from reading lately, is that I have been listening to the world a WHOLE lot more than I have been listening to God and His truths about what love is. About what love does. About what love says. About what love thinks. About what love looks like. Love is not a feeling. Yes yes, I know we all “know” this. But have we seriously thought about that?? Love is not looking at someone and finding them attractive. Love is not wanting to kiss someone. Love is not wanting to hug someone. Yes, love can have those affects on us, but that is not what love is at it’s roots. Love is action. Love is picking up the house for your Mom because you know she had a rough day at work. Love is putting dishes in the dishwasher when you’re tired and all you wanna do is throw them in the sink. Love is always thinking of the other person first. Love is wanting the other persons best at all times. Love is sacrifice.
When I think about sacrifice, you would think I would think about Jesus first. But I actually think about Abraham and his son Isaac first. Maybe it’s because, thought I’m not a mother, I can relate to Abraham more than I can Jesus. I don’t know what it’s like to be fully God and fully human, but I do know what it is like to love a child. I don’t know what it’s like to die for all of the people of the world, but I do know what it’s like loving one person more than yourself. I can comprehend that. I can’t comprehend having the sin of the world on my own shoulders.
Anyway, think about it. A loving father is told to sacrifice his most cherished son. So he gathers wood and brings his knife and he and his son walk up the mountain by themselves to the place where Isaac is to be sacrificed. I’m sure Abraham was not looking forward to this. He was most likely dreading it more than we can imagine. But as he was walking up that mountain with his son, it wasn’t a question of whether he was going to sacrifice his son or not. He was going to. Because God had asked him to do that and Abraham loved God more than anyone or anything else. So Abraham raises the knife to plunge it into his sons heart, and an angel stops him. Love doesn’t think twice. Love doesn’t look back. Love does because love is a dedication and a decision. In his heart, Abraham had already killed Isaac. When Abraham decided he was going to obey God and do as He asked, it was a done deal. It wasn’t a, “well, what if…” It was finished. That’s how much Abraham loved God.
So when it comes to love, the world has it all wrong. Imagine that! It’s not about me. It’s about the other person. It’s about how I can better their lives, and how I can sacrifice for them. It doesn’t look back and question if this person deserves love. It loves because He first loved us. There is nothing we can do that will be greater than the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. And there is nothing more that we can do that will perfect that love any further. Love is acting in that love. Love is not questioning whether I feel up to it today, or if that person is attractive enough, or if she or he has treated me well enough the last few days, or if they have sacrificed for me. True love keeps loving no matter what because of who God is.