❤️ The Love Test

The description of love that Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13 is well known, and I think most people would agree that this is an outstanding definition of true love. But the ultimate test is this: can this definition of love be said of me?

God wants you to be able to say “yes!” and so the Holy Spirit works on us to make this definition more and more consistently true of us. Here’s how we can test ourselves and find out where we need to allow the Spirit to work on us—put your name in this passage everywhere you find the word “love.”

Can this be truly said of me:

“Craig is patient. Craig is kind. Craig isn’t jealous. Craig doesn’t sing his own praises. Craig isn’t arrogant. Craig isn’t rude. Craig doesn’t think about himself. Craig isn’t irritable. Craig doesn’t keep track of wrongs. Craig isn’t happy when injustice is done, but he is happy with the truth. Craig never stops being patient with others, he never stops believing the best for others, he never stops hoping for the best for others, he never gives up on others. Craig’s love never fails.”

If you put your name in that passage, how well do you do on the love test? If you will let Him, the Holy Spirit will help you get all As on these tests.

Is Love Touchy-Feely?

mowt-loveOne of my greatest joys is investing in people, and then watching them develop their God-given gifts. One such man is my friend Scott Troost.

I began a series at the beginning of the month talking about things I have come to appreciate, and I asked a couple of my friends to join with me. Last week Josh Schram shared his appreciation with wise counsel, and this week Scott shared what he’s come to appreciate about love.

Is “puppy love” real love? Is love even supposed to have a feeling? If there are no feelings associated with love, how can you know that you are indeed loving? Scott shares his personal journey on what he’s come to appreciate about love, and I sincerely hope you will watch this video of his message…

Mom, Your Prayers ARE Making A Difference

Mother's loveOne day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Momma, why are some of your hairs white?” Spotting a teachable moment, her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for while and then asked, “Momma, how come all of grandma’s hairs are white?”

Mom, you have earned every one of those gray hairs or wrinkles through your loving care for us!

Gray hair is a mark of distinction, the award for a God-loyal life. (Proverbs 16:3)

The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. (Proverbs 20:29)

Mom, your love for us can be summed up in one verse—Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

And the Apostle Paul’s words to a young preacher are just as true for Moms as they were for Timothy: Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Don’t give up, Mom! You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

What has God promised you about your family? Has He said your whole family will call on Jesus as their Savior? Then persevere in that. Has He said that your prodigal child will come home? Then persevere in that. Despite the odds, despite the obstacles, despite the setbacks, keep on loving them and praying for them. It IS making a difference!

Here’s an encouraging biblical example of a little-known Mom’s prayerful influence on a son that is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ…

Keep persevering in prayer, Mom. Your prayers ARE making a difference!

Thursdays With Oswald—My Part And God’s Part

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

My Part And God’s Part 

     Beware of the tendency of trying to do what God alone can do, and of blaming God for not doing what we alone can do. We try to save ourselves, but God only can do that; and we try to sanctify ourselves, but only God can do that. …

     The love of God is the great mainspring, and by our voluntary choice we can have that love shed abroad in our hearts, then unless hindered by disobedience, it will go on to develop into the perfect love described in 1 Corinthians 13

     We have, then, to make the voluntary choice of receiving the Holy Spirit Who will shed abroad in our hearts the love of God [Romans 5:5], and when we have that wonderful love in our hearts, the sovereign preference for Jesus Christ, our love for others will be relative to this central love. 

From Biblical Psychology

I cannot save myself from an eternity apart from God.

I cannot make myself love someone.

I cannot force myself to give up a sinful habit.

But I can decide to let the Holy Spirit flood my heart with God’s love. And when this happens, I can give up anything that’s holding me back from enjoying an eternity in God’s presence.

My part: allow the Holy Spirit to bring God’s love into my heart, and then obey what God’s Word tells me to do.

God’s part: everything else.

Maturing Love

Psst… I’m mostly speaking to the guys with this one (but you ladies can listen in too).

So I’m hoping you figured out before now that today is Valentine’s Day, right? Allow me to let you in on a little secret: this day may be a no-big-deal day for you, but it is a HUGE deal for the ladies in your life! So the most loving thing you can do is make today a big deal to you too!

Maybe you’ve already figured that part out, and you are trying to make today a special day. But let me ask you a question: Does this Valentine’s Day look just like last year’s? I sure hope not, because our love should be growing up.

Smack-dab in the middle of his great treatise on love, the apostle Paul says this about grown-up love:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Quite simply this means: your love is supposed to be maturing. You’re supposed to be getting better at expressing your love … more creative in your date night planning … more intuitive in your gift giving

So how are you doing? Is your love growing up?

Full Tank

The other day a friend of mine wrote on Facebook that he was shopping with his daughter. He half-jokingly added, “I think that is her love language!” I say half-jokingly because I think the time with Daddy was speaking volumes to his daughter.

Spending time shopping with Dad was filling her love tank!

Have you ever felt like one of your relationships was in a rut? Or maybe even in a rut with ends in it (also known as a grave!)? Do you ever feel like the other person just doesn’t get you? Have you ever been frustrated that the other person doesn’t understand all that you are doing for him/her?

My guess is that you are speaking different love languages.

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote an amazing book called The Five Love Languages. In his book, he lays out five “languages” that we use to communicate our love to one another:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

When you and I communicate, we naturally communicate in a way that is most comfortable to us. We communicate in our primary love language. But if the other person in the relationship has a different love language, no matter how much you love them, you are simply not getting through effectively. You are leaving the other person with a near-empty love tank.

I would suggest you start by taking a brief love language assessment (download the free PDF here → 5 Love Languages assessment) to determine YOUR OWN love language first. This is the language you will feel most comfortable using. Second, you need to learn the love languages of OTHERS CLOSE TO YOU so you can change your love dialect.

In the great love chapter in the Bible, the apostle Paul says this, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (v. 11, New Living Translation). Our love—and the way we express it to others—should always be growing up. If you are trying to communicate your love to someone special in the same ways (the same “languages”) you’ve always used, there’s a good chance your love is being viewed as childish.

As you mature in your expressions of love — as you speak the other person’s love language — you will begin to fill their love tank. Guess what happens next? Out of a full love tank, the other person is motivated to begin to speak your love language, to fill your tank. It can become so much fun to love with a full tank! Because when the other person’s love tank is full, almost any love language will work for them—wow, what a blast!

For married couples, YouVersion has an excellent reading plan that teaches specifically how the love languages operate in the context of your marriage.

UPDATE… my friend Greg Heeres and I host a leadership podcast on YouTube. Recently, we discussed the value of leaders learning and speaking the love languages of their teammates.

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