God is Love. Do I have Love? I mean deep down inside my heart. “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have a gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
I remember when I was 19 years old and my husband, Jon, was a new Christian. I was a young wife and mother to one baby boy and I was renewing my love for Christ. I was sitting on my bed and I was crying and with my husband I was begging God to forgive me for all the ways that I had failed my Lord and Savior over the last several years. I knew that if I could rid my life of certain foul words and never partake of another social drink, I would be all that God expected me to be. I knew it would be a very hard road, but I loved God enough to make those sacrifices.
Later, I remember realizing that there was so much more to being a Christian than cleaning up the outside and all that the world could see. I read verses like Matthew 15:18, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” I realized that I had many greater issues for the Lord to deal with. He had to deal with heart issues within me. The outward issues are the easy issues.
While I might practice looking good on the outside, God can see right through all of my actions into my heart. Sometimes that can be quite humiliating. Above every attitude that God wants me to learn to live, He wants me to live LOVE. Even though we can never learn the pure love that He demonstrated to us, He expects us to continue to perfect this in our lives.
If I remain married for the duration of my lifetime but I put my needs above the needs of my husband, then I do not have love in my heart. I have so much to learn here. Proverbs 31:12 says that, “she does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Certainly I can say that I do not do Jon evil, but do I intentionally do him good everyday, or do I lovingly look out for his needs over my own? Do I talk sweet to my children only when others are watching? Or do I show love to my children because Jesus loves me, and Jon and I are the only models of love God has given our children here on earth? I certainly try to have this attitude, but there are days when this is not the case and I must still ask for their forgiveness and pray for God to continue to mold my heart.
Do I always assume the best of my sisters in Christ? If someone hurts me, is it my instant reaction to give them the benefit of the doubt? What if they hurt my husband or my children? Do I intentionally reach out to the lonely or those struggling with sin? Here is the more revealing question, how do I really feel about them?
True love for God’s children realizes that someone struggling with sin is someone just like me. Their sin might be more visible, but when God looks into my heart, and I know that He does so constantly, what does He see? Am I a clanging cymbal? Am I a noisy gong? One day, I know that Jesus will return. I know that whether I am still breathing or have long passed on, Jesus will be able to look for love in my heart. What will He find there? Will there only be a gong or clanging cymbal that distractingly made noise for those around me to hear that will burn up in flames? Or will He find His love that continued to grow there? May God continue to teach me His love.
By Laura Warnes
Laura Warnes and her husband Jon serve with the Bear Valley church of Christ where they have been members for the last five years. Jon serves as a deacon. Laura is a homeschooling mom to their seven children still at home, (two have flown the coup) and is also a proud grandma to one granddaughter, and anxiously expecting another in May.
Originally posted on 3/28/10