Loving Others

“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 13:3

One of my good friends brought up this verse just the other day, and it was such a good reminder of how important love is. Yes, kind gestures and nice encouragements are good, but if love isn’t included in those actions or words, they are meaningless.
 
Something I am passionate about is the order in which we experience love. Jesus says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart. The second is to love others as we love ourself. I believe that there is a significance to this order. Before we can even love God and follow the first commandment, we have to know His love for us. Then, and only then, can we even begin to express our love for Him. It comes from a pure response of how we experience God loving us. Once our relationship with God revolves around love, then can we truly love another person with good and pure intentions.

So, in this particular season of life, loving others looks a certain way for me. There seems to be a lot of confusion in the world these days, and everyone is processing the news and current events differently. God isn’t into confusion. He’s steady, constant, and remains the same forever and always. So I lean into that truth and love other people by being totally patient with them. Everyone has a story. People tend to respond to the life that is thrown at them based on that story. Over the years, I’ve learned what true patience looks like; it’s a lot of listening and understanding. It’s being slow to speak. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, an overflow of Jesus inside of us. Since God IS Love, patience is an act of love as it exudes from us.
 
Loving others in this season also means to have honest conversation with your people. A lot of us have been around the same friends, or the same family for a long period of time now. We’re experiencing each other at a deeper level than normal because we’re exposed to each other more. I think, using wisdom and discernment, this season can be a good opportunity to have vulnerable conversations with friends and family about anything that God may be pressing on your heart. This looks a lot of different ways, depending on the relationship that you have with the person, but the most important thing is to invite God into the process. Ask Him to present an opportunity for you. He’ll do it. Ask Him to do all the talking.  He’ll help you out. Most importantly, ask for wisdom. James 1:5 says that if we ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us.

Ask God to show you what it looks like for you, specifically you, to love this season. What’s a fruit of the Spirit that you want to grow in? Is there a specific person that you have been meaning to have a conversation with? Allow the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom and patience in every circumstance, every conversation, every moment.
 
One of the best ways to love someone is to pray for them. It seems intangible, but it’s one of the most effective ways to love. Pray is powerful. You are powerful. Pray for yourself, pray for your people, pray for that stranger you passed on your walk today. And make sure you check your heart before you do - you gotta pray, speak, listen, act from a place of love. Otherwise, there’s no point.

Love on, friends! God’s excited about this!

Author | Katherine Burnette

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