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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, February 13, 2012

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ART OF LOVING

Tomorrow, many of us will be celebrating Valentine's Day.  With this focus on 'love', it might be appropriate to start with a Biblical definition of love.  

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  I Corinthians 13: 4 - 8.

When we read this passage, we are immediately aware that 'to love and be loved' is an art.  We all fail miserably! The phrase, 'art of' is freely used in many ways - parenting, cooking, quilting, drawing, writing, etc.

I was curious how Webster's Dictionary defined these words, 'art of'.  I read, "skill in performance acquired by experience, study, observation - something that requires a natural skill in addition to training and practice".  Sometimes we use the word 'knack', meaning to have natural ability or a clever way of doing something.  We can experience, study, observe, train and practice, but the truth is, love comes from God.

I always go to I John 4 when the subject of love begs for clarity.  The Apostle John is the author of the Gospel of John, also 1-3 John, and the Book of Revelation.The Lord used his hand to reveal amazing truth.  I recall several years ago visiting the tiny Greek island of Patmos.  We stood at what is thought to be the site where John wrote Revelation.  He was sent there in exile by the Romans, but he didn't waste much time feeling sorry for himself.  God had given him a vision of the end times and ordained that he record this so we all can know the end of this story on earth. 

In I John 4 we read ...

- Love comes from God.
- Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
- Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- Perfect love drives out fear.
- We love, because he first loved us.

Love, like faith, isn't something we can decide to have, but we can decide to act loving, even if we don't feel the love.  We read in Romans 5:5..."God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  I've often said that God drops a seed of love into our hearts, but actually, He pours it in!  We nurture it, but it's God who always causes the growth.

We're all flawed people so loving requires forgiveness.  Maybe we can think of loving others with this in mind...

- Look
- Over
- Various
- Errors

You can probably come up with your own acronym.  The Lord said, come to me, 'be mine'.  He is telling us that He can do for us what we can't do for ourselves.  Love is worth pursuing.  Part of loving and being loved is learning to love yourself which means forgiving all your mess-ups and imperfections. 

When I encounter un-loving people I know they are unable to love themselves.  When you realize this, you don't take what you perceive as rejection personally. These people may be casual acquaintances, or they may be close to you, a parent, child, sibling, even a mate.  The secret is this...when we are able to see ourselves as God sees us, we can be free to love most anyone.  God's love can travel into hardened, closed hearts that only He can penetrate. 

I recently read a prayer that a ten year old girl had written to God.  She said, "I bet it's very hard to love everybody in the whole world. There are only four in  my family and I can never do it."  You see again, the Lord has us just where he wants us - totally dependent on Him.  Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." 

Be aware that Valentines Day has Christian roots.  There really was a St. Valentine.  He was a Christian who was martyred for his faith in Rome on February 14, 270 AD.  He was a practicing physician and healed the daughter of a Roman jailer of blindness.  He sent the little girl a note before his death which said...'From your Valentine'.  A man by the name of Robert Sabuda wrote and illustrated beautifully a book about Saint Valentine.  I wrote more about the story of Valentines Day on 2/19/2011 - check the blog archives if interested. 

Enjoy my book, Blogging God's Word: Seeing Ourselves Through God's Eyes by Roberta Van Hise.  It's available on Amazon, Crossbooks or as an E-book.  Several North County San Diego libraries also have the book available. 

Lord I thank you that we can love through You, live through You and that our very being is in You - Acts 17:28.