Loyally in love

I have several go-to verses in God's word, but I think the book I turn to the most is James. The author speaks a great deal about trials and sufferings, and while those things aren't necessarily the makings of must-read literature, they certainly call out to me when it feels like things are up in the air.



Some interesting things have happened lately, so I decided to jump back into James. As I was diving into the first chapter this morning (The Message version), a phrase struck me (not literally, good grief). See if it pops out at you. (How'd you like all those action verbs?! That's my shout-out to grammar!! Muah!) Ok, seriously, scroll on down and read the passage I was reading today.



"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way... Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life." James 1:2-4, 12



Ohh! I really like that! Loyally in love.



I wasn't really sure what that meant, but, oh that phrase!, it just *grabbed* me and held on. So, the teacher in me decided to head over to the dictionary and do a little research.



loyal - (there were four main definitions...I chose the first two)
1. faithful to one's sovereign, government, or state: a loyal subject.
2. faithful to one's oath, commitments, or obligations:
to be loyal to a vow.




in love - (there were twenty-eight definitions...seriously...28...I chose the one with the word in before it)
25. infused with or feeling deep affection or passion: a youth always in love.



I read over those definitions carefully and found that my new favorite phrase means that if I am to be "loyally in love" with God, then I must be faithfully infused with deep affection or passion for my Sovereign, my Lord, my Christ. Wow. Can I do that? Can I feel that strongly for my Creator, the One who formed the world from nothingness, the One I can't see or touch? I mean, is it even possible to have that strong of an affection for an actual person who I can hold in my arms, let alone the God of the universe who's, you know, sort of untouchable??


I think it is possible, but I don't think it's easy. I think that, like with any relationship, loving someone takes time and effort. It's not just this feeling that comes and goes. It's not based on outward appearance or how that person makes you feel. It's a choice; it's an action. To love someone is to put his/her well-being above your own. It's talking and listening. Yep, I said listening. It's really easy to talk and pray and sing and praise, but do we really listen to God?


Do we ever just
stop
and sit still
long enough
to feel Him near us
and discern what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us?


I think the same goes for any relationship. Do we really listen to what the other person is saying, or do we nod our heads and wait patiently (hah! or not so patiently) for that person to conclude his/her thoughts before we boldly start sharing our own? The boyfriend and I have recently begun reading The Hear Process, a book about communication which is based on scripture. I'm enjoying it so far (I think he is, too!), and it gives lots of helpful information to those seeking to have fabulous communication in any relationship.


Anyway, (my brain got ahead of me... and then took a side trip... and then went down a rabbit hole...) back to loyally loving God. I absolutely think it's possible to love God loyally. I believe it's wholly feasible (thanks for that adjective, Karen!) to be passionate about God, about His Son who died for us, about the Holy Spirit who understands the groans that escape from our lips when we are planted face down at the feet of our Father. How can we not be passionate about a God so holy, so just, so righteous, yet so kind, so loving, so patient? He is love! The very definition.



"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. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


God is every. single. one. of those things.
I choose to do more listening to, to be more faithful to, and to be more passionate about the God who is love.

Comments

  1. Great post! I love your enthusiasm!

    I need that book on communication as soon as you're done too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. "...and the greatest of these is Love." Beautifully written. The Book of James is awesome and you are, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joy--when you have time do a search for "The Bible on one page". If you like it, save it to your favorites. I have it marked to mine!
    Uncle J.

    ReplyDelete

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