Today I asked my students to reflect on the following quote. The response was more divided than I'd predicted it would be. So now I'm curious as to how other people see it! Anyone willing to share your thoughts?
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
I shared these thoughts with our FCA students this week. I hope it inspires them, and I hope I can live up to my own ideals. I believe we are called to demonstrate a Love that is greater than our own human nature can supply.
One of my favorite quotes about being a Christian:
“As a Christian, the greatest influence you can have on those around you is…just not be a jerk.” (Sean Lumsden, Living Hope Church ☺)
*But then again, any non-Christian can also “not be a jerk.” So what would make me different?
God’s love v. man’s love
*Unless I pursue God and truly understand his love, I can only love out of my own human capacity. Since humans fail, my love will also inevitably fail. Sadly, sometimes my love will…be impatient, envious, proud, snippy, selfish, feel like giving up on someone, lose hope.
*What does 1 Cor 13:1-7 say about God’s love in the face of those failures? If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I
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.
Pursuing God’s love
*The ultimate example: John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
*Less obvious examples:
- God loves us each day with faithfulness, hope, and mercy. Lamentations 3:22-23
- God expects us to Love our enemies. Matthew 5:43-48
- I believe this implies that He wants us to love everyone, even enemies, with "faithfulness, hope, and mercy."
Recognizing the opportunities we often miss
*When do I find my love failing? Is it possible that in those times I’m loving out of my own capacity and not seeking God’s love?
-When I feel frustrated…
-When with someone who’s seen as “less acceptable”…
-When I feel unworthy, like no one cares…
-When family members or friends have hurt me…
-When I feel rejected…
-When I want to be right…
-When I feel apathetic…
*Revisit 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 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.
Increasing our capacity for love
God demonstrated his perfect Love and calls us to share that Love, especially with those who haven’t felt it yet, but he expects us to reach beyond our own capacity so that we might fully exemplify the perfection of his gift. To increase our capacity for loving others, we must spend time pursuing God’s Love through his word. We must intentionally seek out his faithfulness, hope, and mercy so that we can consistently pour out that Love on others.
Moving beyond just “not be[ing] a jerk”
1 John 4:7-21 presents a full picture of loving those around us, but it can all be summed up in verses 7 and 8. Dear friends, let us love one another, for 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.