Friday, August 26, 2011

Are You “In Love”? Part 1

It’s not the classic “love at first sight” scenario.  Nor is it defined by flushed cheeks, sweaty palms, and a heart thumping so loudly you are certain others can hear it if you don’t faint first.  It’s not the kind of love that you can “fall” out of, either.  You either walk in this love or you don’t, and it’s your choice.  It’s God’s definition of being “in love.”
After looking at several passages in the book of Ephesians a couple of weeks ago, I challenged myself with that very question: Am I in love?  Of course, I thought primarily of my relationship with my husband: he sees me at my best...and at my worst, which is not pretty and certainly not fun to live with!  We can ask ourselves the same question about every relationship we have: friends, spouse, children, parents, you name it, especially those who are fellow believers in Jesus, part of the family of God.  Are we living and relating to others in love, the way God describes it?
There are many verses in the New Testament that use the phrase “in love.”  (Now there’s another idea for a Bible study: study all passages that use this phrase and compile what you learn.)  In this brief series, I will focus on just four of those verses, all in the book of Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:1-2 provides a context with which we can understand the remainder of the book: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.”  If we are to walk (live) in a way that is worthy of being called a believer in Jesus -- a follower of Christ -- this passage teaches us that four qualities ought to characterize our lives:
    • Humility
    • Gentleness
    • Patience
    • Tolerance
Wow!  So much could be said about each of these qualities that I could have a whole separate series!  Just take some time and reflect on each of those and ask yourself if you live in such a way toward others.
Ephesians 4:3 completes the entire thought that flows from verses 1-3: “being diligent to preserve unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  This caused me to ask myself if I am diligent to preserve peace with others.  Do I humble myself and ask forgiveness when it is necessary, or humbly ask a friend if I sense strife?  These are the kind of questions that came to my mind as I looked at these verses.  
Again, this passage applies primarily to relationships with other Believers.  (The phrase “one another” in verse 2 and “unity of the Spirit” in verse 3 indicate this.)  But the application extends to interaction with anyone; we should strive to cultivate these qualities so that they describe who we are.  I know I am not there yet, but God isn’t finished with me, and as painful as that is at times, I am thankful!
So, the question still remains, are youin love”?  Don’t stop there: what are you going to do about it?   
More on “love” next time!  Blessings, my friends!

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