The Love Dare

“I dare you to trust that I love you, just as you are. And not as you should be.” Because none of us are as we should be. – Richard Mullins

For many years, I had thought that Love only has to do with the peachy stuff. You know? That superficial idea of love that a lot of us seem to have. If it’s all good and rosy, knocks us off our feet, then it’s love.
When it gets rough and tough and messy, when the true test of calling love out of the mess, like God called light out of the darkness of our hearts, then we end up with the “it’s just not working out; It’s time to move on; I deserve better; Maybe I got it wrong” mantra. And if you are like me, you are bound to realize, sooner or later, that you have drowned yourself in an entire marching band squad of red flags.
“Words about love sound pretty; actually loving people is messy. Be part of the mess.”
I Love LOVE. I am a total, absolute, complete (and all the adjectives that fall in between) sucker for love. And as I am growing in the Lord, I am the more excited about all that  Love entails. I am excited about the inner desire to ‘glow so hard like one dim star on an otherwise starless night that shines to prove its fidelity!’
LOVE, according to scripture, ‘is to will another’s good. Love is not merely liking the pleasure others give us. It is not treating them as a means to our satisfaction–this would mean putting ourselves in the place of God. Love is obedience to Him who is Love. It is not a mood or a preference or an emotion. It is not “feeling good about” somebody.
But LOVE, LOVE in itself is seeing the ugly and choosing to go forth.’
We are going somewhere. We are running a race of perfection. And in each precious moment of this seemingly confusing thing called life, I’m finding the wonderful Grace and Mercies of God.
 It’s inescapable, it’s mystifying, it’s forgiveness like no one ever explained to me, most importantly, it’s mine. <3
And maybe, that’s why years after coming to this saving knowledge of Christ, it only feels like I’ve known Him for one. One year ago. One month ago. One week ago. Yesterday!
I would love for you to understand that GOD LOVES YOU! With an everlasting Love! Point Blank Period.
But that may not be easy for all of us to just grab this and run with it. And that’s absolutely fine because it is an absolute mystery that there is a Man, who, in His very nature, looks past our flaws, our shortcomings, our filthy thoughts.
There is a Man, who, though without sin, took upon Himself OUR sins, and became sin so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Cor. 5:21)
The Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God. (1 Pet. 3:18)
… Let that sink in for a minute.
I know some of us, a lot of us, may have questions:
“If God ‘claims’ to love us so much why did this and that terrible thing happen to this person?”
“How come He didn’t answer my prayers”
“I was ready to give up everything if only He would make her live again”
And you know what? I have questions too.
But our questions do not make God unjust. The truth is, He is not going to spend years ‘justifying’ Himself to us.
He is the God with the Power that called light out of the void and dark earth. By His voice, creatures came into being.He owed us nothing but GAVE us EVERYTHING! We were lost, and hopeless, and doomed for Life, but He wouldn’t let that happen. He is for all of us! And because of Him, Hope, Faith, Love, Forgiveness have a name!
Our inability to comprehend His ways (which are not our ways) does not change His very nature.
The things that stop us from getting to God are our own idols that we set up for ourselves. Because  He made no exceptions. There are no Limits to the Love of God. It’s EVER-LASTING, it’s ETERNAL, FOREVER has a name because of God’s Love!
Our Beloved ‘extends his hand through the opening.’
‘He wouldn’t take no for an answer.’
(Song of Solomon 5:4)
MHB 157, 3rd stanza
‘Jesus calls us from the worship of the vain world’s golden store. From each idol that would keep us, saying: Christian, love Me more’
Oh Love, that would not let me go!
God Loves Us So Dearly! And Dear Lord, may I never ever tire of the sound of that. May I never be able to wrap my head around it.
So, what does that mean for us? We who are told to “therefore, be imitators of God as His dear children’ What does it mean to be called to Love? What does it mean to be given the Greatest Gift?
Love which suffers long and is kind? Love that does not envy, that does not parade itself, that is not puffed up; Love that does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity. Love that never fails.
‘In this(LOVE), the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not PRACTICE righteousness is not of God, NOR IS HE WHO DOES NOT LOVE HIS BROTHER.’-1 John 3:10
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and EVERY evil thing are there.  (James 3:16) And this eliminates God.
This usually happens when we make our obedience to God’s Word dependent on another’s actions. We then miss the whole point. We are called, NOT  to give account of another’s actions and how that affected our Love; We are called to give an account of ourselves to God… ‘according to that he hath done’ (2 Cor. 5:10)

‘To the workers who, under the guise of a concern for fairness, objected to an equal wage being paid to those who began the job at different hours of the day, the owner said, “Why be jealous because I am kind?” (Mt 20:15 NEB).

To Peter, hesitant to follow the Lord until he found out what was going to be required of the other disciple, Jesus said, “If it should be my will that he wait until I come, what is it to you? Follow me” (Jn 21:22 NEB).’ [Isn’t Jesus the funniest Man ever? LOL]

To wives, always finding reasons why their case is an exceptional one worthy of a nag, disrespect, or divorce, the Word says: (unconditionally) “Submit to your husbands”(Eph 5: 22)

To husbands, who are of the notion that ‘impossible’ wives do not deserve to be Loved as Christ commands, God says: (unconditionally) “Love your wives” (Eph 5: 24)

To members of the of the Body of Christ, deliberately compromising on righteousness because of trends, norms, ‘it’s not even that serious.’,’Everybody is dong it’, the Word says: “ONLY  let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel  of Christ” (Phil. 1:27)

To the one growing weary of doing good unto others who appear to not have an attitude of gratitude, we are told: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and NOT TO MEN.” (Colossians 3:23)

‘Let each “mind his own”–direct his attention TO THE THING REQUIRED OF HIM –and harmony will be the result.’

– Some text from this paragraph was taken from a teaching by Elisabeth Elliot on Obedience

LOVE…
bears ALL things,
believes ALL things,
hopes ALL things,
endures ALL things.
No exceptions are mentioned!
“Oh to be Holy! Just to sense for a moment that I have somehow, however feebly, some measure of Thy Character, Lord Jesus!”

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