Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Deeper Love

Having lived for nearly 62 years on this planet, I have discovered a few things about love. Like, just when I think I know what love is, along comes another wrinkle or "revelation" about it that causes me to know that . . . I really didn't know what love was at all.

I was having a conversation with a few young adult friends this past week. I think that was when I came to the realization that there is yet another type of love, another level, if you will. But, as with many discussions, in order for us to move forward, it is sometimes necessary to go back. So let's start off with a few words from the apostle Paul.

"11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. - 1 Corinthians 13:11

For this topic I think that's where we need to begin. It is when we leave our childhood behind, our childlike love, and we begin a journey of discovery that ultimately leads us right back to where we began. Here's another verse that hints at what I'm trying to get at. These words come from Jesus.

"14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 19:14

Close your eyes and think about the kind of love a child offers. Do you see the images in your mind? A child running into his mother's arms. A young girl hugging a puppy. Stuff like that. Warm and fuzzy images to be sure. There is a reason we find those mental pictures so pleasing and desirable. It is because, I believe, we long for them. We long to experience a love like that again. That childlike love that contains no fear or doubt.

Children trust. They offer love openly and freely, without fear of rejection, without doubt. They love completely and without question. So . . . that begs another question, "What happened to us?" I think we became afraid to love deeply and unconditionally because, to some degree, we have become afraid to see love as a commitment. If not afraid, perhaps . . . apprehensively cautious. That is not a healthy fear.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear." - 1 John 4:18

We spend much of our lives, after childhood, trying to get back to that simple kind of love we once had as a child. First finding it and then loving in it . . . again. It is more of a longing though, not really an active search. We will never find it that way. We should get off our butts and crave it!

The world in which we live today is much different from the world of our youth. Love comes with many more descriptors than it once did. Some think love will never find them because love has burned them too many times and they fear being hurt again. Others would give anything to be loved because they can't seem to find it anywhere. Still others are doomed to never find that perfect, child-like love because, as that old country song goes, they are searching for love in all the wrong places.

I was listening to a young friend recently. As she talked I listened . . . with my eyes. She was saying one thing with her lips but her eyes were telling me something else. She is longing for, and deep down, desiring, something deeper. That's when I began to see this need in her for this higher love I am writing about today. I began to see it through the compassion and love I have for my friend. The love of Jesus.

There is a desire within each of us, I think, for a deeper, more intimate, unconditional love. The kind of love we used to have as children, we long to have and experience that again. It IS possible to find that kind of love. The kind of love we all seek requires us to go back to the beginning . . . to the source. But we are often afraid to make the trip, to take the first step. And that is where we fail.

The young lady I was talking with is in a same-sex relationship. These kinds of relationships are embraced by our society these days and encouraged in our schools. Yet, same-sex relationships are "discouraged," to say the least, in the Bible. So what are we to do? What do we do when people we love make choices and decisions that lead down a path that is contrary to God's desires for us? Back to basics.

"30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:30-31

Hey, let's face it, we are ALL sinners. We spend so much time concerning ourselves with what we think OTHER people should be doing, we forget to examine ourselves, to see what it is that WE should be doing. We spend so much time talking about other people's sins, we forget to assess our own sinful nature and hold ourselves accountable. And most importantly, we forget to love.

"8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." - 1 John 4:8

As the discussion and the evening ended that night with my young friend, we parted company. But before we left, we hugged, and we exchanged I love you's. You see, this life is a journey - not to accomplish all we can, not to point out the faults of others, but to love all we meet. Jesus lived His life as an example of love. Something we should emulate. I don't judge or convict those who sin, because . . . that's me too.

Instead, I pray my young friend and others might see in me, not an old, uncaring man, but someone who exudes the love of his savior, Jesus Christ. Someone who has God's Holy Spirit living in me and loving through me.

The secret to the deeper love we all desire is found in Christ. It is found in the Bible. The information we all need for that "perfect love" and life has already been given to us. We just need to read it and apply it. So, do you desire a deeper, higher love? What are you waiting for? Run into His arms . . . like a little child. He is waiting, patiently, for you. He waited 53 years for me, he'll wait for you.

Here is a secular song written in 1957 for the musical The Music Man. A small group named The Beatles did a cover of the song five years later. Imagine the lead singer, Paul, singing this song, not to a would-be lover, but as a prayer to God. The song then takes on whole new meaning if you think of it that way. May you find the true meaning of love, as I did, in the arms of Christ. Then you too will finally know what love truly is. And you will realize there can be no love at all in our lives until we can finally sing . . . till there was You.

Till There Was You - The Beatles

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