But the greatest of these is LOVE.

Lately, I have had numerous sleepless nights. I’m talking about being awake the entire night and sometimes the next. There have been weeks where I’ve accumulated only a few hours of sleep.

Anxiety does not rest. This means I do not rest. As a result, I have experienced a new level of exhaustion I didn’t know existed. There have been days that the exhaustion has completely debilitated me. I feel like the walking dead!

Thankfully, my sleep has improved in the past week or two. Until last night. Yep, I had another sleepless night. I started to perseverate on one thing which led to another and another and so on.

Fortunately, last night was different. I had a realization that is meaningful and helpful. So much so, that I feel the need to share it with others.

My realization centers around a struggle I’m dealing with. It is with a word. I’m struggling with a word I feel is overused and has lost it’s true meaning.

The word is LOVE. I struggle with the word love and here is why…

It is common practice to tell others (especially those in our church) that we love them. The expression is cordially returned to the one who said it. It is as typical as saying “hello” or “good morning” to one another.

I find this problematic. Love is something more than a greeting or nicety. Having said that, the question is – what is love?

I went to the Scriptures to hear what God has to say about love. What I found is that love is crucial to the Christian life. I began to ask questions like:

Why is love of great consequence? What makes it so important?

Love is evidence of salvation (I John 4:7-12). By showing love to others, we share our testimony of our love for Christ. If love is that significant, shouldn’t we have an unambiguous understanding of what defines love?

To the Christian, love is an action. When I tell someone I love them, I need to support the word with action. If I just say it and don’t show it, love becomes an empty word.

This creates an inner conflict in the one being told they are loved. The word has no substance, therefore it is meaningless. What a travesty.

As I meditated on love, I began to wonder why we tell others we love them and neglect to show our love through action? We all do it whether intended or not. Anyone can come up with a thousand reasons why this happens…the first one being “we are busy”! We are all so busy! It’s true.

But let’s put that on the back burner for now because as Christians we are called to something greater than “busy”. We are called to sacrificial love.

This means we sacrifice our wants and desires. We lay down our “rights”. The key is we sacrifice ourselves for the other person.

Jesus gave us the greatest example of sacrificial love by laying down His life for us. There is nothing ordinary about it.

His love is extraordinary!

Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

Are we drawing others to Christ with our loving-kindness?

Do others yearn for the loving bond we have as Christian brothers and sisters?

Do we show the kind of sacrificial love that cannot be ignored?

Through Christ, we have a connection that draws us to love one another. As a body of believers we love each other.

But that’s just the foundation, the beginning. From that we must nurture our relationships and grow. We do that through action.

So, I thought about this past week. What did I do to show love to someone in the church?

Did I call or text someone that I don’t normally talk to just to check on them? Did I help someone with a meal or shopping? Did I see a way to bless someone and act on it immediately?

When did I sacrifice my wants, my desires, my needs for the needs of someone else?

Don’t get me wrong. I have seen countless acts of sacrificial love in our church at various times. However, I think we need to bump up our game. We need a refresher course on love, godly love.

A great place to go in the Scriptures to learn about love is I Corinthians 13:1-13.

V.4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

V.5) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

V.6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

V.7) It alway protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

V.8) Love never fails

V.13) And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Let us be a body of believers that not only understands sacrificial love but also lives it out. There is nothing we can do that is greater than this. Love our brothers and sisters, not just with words but with actions because…

The greatest of these is love.

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