"If you have not love..."
"As you go forward in life focus on increasing your ability to love and on surrounding yourself with people who love you. It is important to develop gifts and skill sets, but remember, if you have not love, those things won’t get you anywhere"
“If you have not Love…”
I recently traveled to Brazil. Ive been to foreign countries before, I’ve been to poorer, third world countries, but I’ve never had such a realization of the importance of love. Amidst a people whom didn’t speak my language, who don’t understand American gestures, who don’t have the same past experiences neither personally nor culturally, I had to find a simple way to express love that could be simply received and understood.
In a daycare it looked like running around with the kids, or picking them up and rushing them through the air as an airplane. In an old persons home, where most suffered from dementia, it looked like putting my arm around someone and just sitting there in silence. To the homeless it looked like hugs, giving food, or just smiling at them.
In each different scenario, my heart longed to express the love of Jesus through words, but my mind made me love in a new way.
On my way to Brazil I was reading and studying 1 Cor. 13. The first scripture says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” My call in life is to love. To receive love and to give love. To be loved and love others. I may have all the gifting in the world, but if I don’t learn how to love the people the Lord has surrounded me with, then my gifts wont be of much use.
Our purpose is to love. When we accept the savior into our heart, we take on a mandate to love the lost. Pure Love sent out disciples to “…go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” He sent out His followers to go and reproduce His image throughout the earth. In order for them to reproduce they had to be able to teach, and in order to teach they needed influence. It’s pretty hard to go somewhere you’ve never been, where the people don’t know you, and instantly try to start telling people what to do.
Before you can become an influencer, you need to build influence. How do you build influence? Well, look at how Jesus, the most recognized and influential leader of all time, did it: He came with love. Christ came with power, all power, but He chose not to use it until His influence matched His power. God loved the world and that is the reason behind Him sending His only son to earth. Christ was the love of God demonstrated in a way that the human mind, made of flesh could translate. How did Christ build influence to match the power he held within? Love. He was love, therefore He loved. It’s hard for someone to not want to submit to your leadership when all you do is love them.
I think of times in my life when I’ve gone places because I felt like the Lord sent me there, but then I start to get upset over how un-seen I feel at times. Did Jesus have influence the moment He was born? Did Jesus walk out of the manger the King of the earth? No. Jesus was born with direction and a promise from His father. Jesus was born out of Love, out of God’s love for mankind. Jesus was born as love. He was born flesh and bones, no different than you and I, but he knew his where He came from and where He was going. When you have a clear vision of where you’re going, small beginnings neither scare you or cause you to despair.
In the Greek language there are multiple different forms of love that mean different things, the one here is “Agape”. Which means, “faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character.” This love, “Agape love”, of lofty moral nature and strong character is that love which enables us to build influence in the places we go in life.
Going back to my trip to Brazil, there was no way I could express my love through words, but through my character and morality I could. For instance, I could be a man of my word, I can be an example of chivalry to the young men, I could be an example of evangelism, or simply by the way I smiled at people the could see heavenly values in my heart. When I got there, no-one knew who I was but because of how I let the Lord love people through me, by the time I left I had influence with a group of people.
If you’re in a place in your life where you feel stuck or like you’re not yet in the place of leadership and influence that you may want to someday be in, don’t get discouraged, but let the Lord teach you how to love. Complaining and/or doing the same things over and over again aren’t going to grow you. Listening to the father and following the example that Jesus gave us is going to take you directly to the place where you are called to in life.
If you’re not sure if you're in the right place, ask yourself, “Am I loving others?” And, “Am I loving myself?” If you answered no to one or both of those questions, the Lord either has a different method for you to live by, or a different place for you to be all together. The Lord has called you to Love, but not only to love but to be loved as well, and you can only love others as much as you’re loving yourself. If you try to give away more than you’re receiving you’ll actually be taking from the person that you’re trying to give to.
As you go forward in life focus on increasing your ability to love and on surrounding yourself with people who love you. It is important to develop gifts and skill sets, but remember, if you have not love, those things won’t get you anywhere.
“And now abide in faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”