This past year has been a time of anxiety for us all with the pandemic, racial unrest, and political strife. It’s understandable. But we’re reminded there’s a better way than living in fear.
The word for love in that verse is the Greek agape, for which the shades of meaning according to Strong’s Concordance are brotherly love, charity, affection, good will, and benevolence.
So, if the converse of that verse is true, then those things could be displaced in us by allowing fear to grab hold. And maybe some of what we’ve seen in ourselves and in the world is the result of that.
Many times, we’ve heard or said in these past months, “I’m not going to live in fear.” But even that phrase has sometimes been tinged with anger and aimed at people with whom there is disagreement—not something that bespeaks good will or love at all. Love must be lived. It has to be the first thing in and the last thing out.
If we don’t want to live in fear, love will have to be our watchword. It’s just that simple. And if love is our banner, then it will look something like what we find in I Corinthians 13. “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 trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
And if you cringed a little when you read those words again, join the crowd. I think we all can see where we fall short of what God desires in these verses. I would not use the word always in conjunction with any of these attributes in my life (especially patience) and am often in confession and repentance of the ways I fall short.
Since we’re here in the house so much, when I took down our Christmas decorations, I jumped a little ahead and put up a few Valentine’s Day wreathes here and there. When I see these hearts, I can ask, “Is my heart right with God?” I can’t change a lot of what’s out there in the world, but I can allow God to deal with what’s wrong in me.
Somewhere in my childhood, I learned this song that reads as a prayer. Written in the early twentieth century and derived from Psalm 139, the lyrics are:
“Search me O God, and know my heart today; Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray. See if there be some wicked way in me; Cleanse me from ev’ry sin and set me free.”
Yes, it’s just that simple. We ask God to cleanse our hearts so that love will reign supreme. Let it be so.
Still need a little Christmas? A Season for Everything
Still need a little Christmas? A Season for Everythingavailable in print and ebook HERE .