Feb 3, 2014
Love Has to Grow
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 6-7
Love must grow. It can’t stand still, and it certainly cannot go backward. Love must flourish or else it withers and dies. In fact, growth in a relationship is very much like growth in a tree or flower. If a flower doesn’t bloom, if a tree doesn’t sprout leaves, it signals a problem.
Our love for the Lord Jesus is also a living thing. We are intimately united with Him in His body. Remember, love between you and your Lord, like anything that lives, must grow. Just think, 1 Corinthians 13 is how God feels about you!
We can always come up with good excuses as to why our relationships do not progress and increase in love. But instead of blaming others, ask yourself a couple of direct questions about love. Do I protect my loved one’s reputation? Are my expectations unrealistic? Do I pray committedly? Does my love cover a multitude of the other’s sins? Do I keep Christ at the center of our relationship?
Lord, help me to be patient and kind toward others. Help me not to envy those who seem to be enjoying tremendous progress and increase in their marriages. Help me not to boast when I’m right, or be proud when others are wrong. Help me not to be rude to my husband… wife… or friend. I don’t want my love to be self-seeking, or easily angered. And, Lord, convict me if I start keeping a record of wrongs, for I desire that my love will always rejoice with the truth. Help me to have faith, hope, and love ever increasing, ever growing.
A woman recently asked me, “Joni, you seem so confident. Have you always been that way?” Inwardly I smiled. If she only knew the knots I feel in my stomach before I speak to a crowd, or the times I’m scared stiff to sit in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush.
It is called insecurity and, for me, it started in my early scramble to keep up with three older, more athletic sisters. As a four-year-old, I would cling to the saddlehorn as my sixteen-hands-high horse galloped behind the steeds of my sisters. I didn’t dare tell them how scared I was!
My life journey has been to put aside those insecurities. My wheelchair has helped. At first, it made me feel more insecure, but over the years God has used the chair to force me to sit still, quit competing, and be quiet before Him. That was all I needed! People are only as secure as the source of their security; if we are secure in Christ, then we have every reason to be confident.
Christian psychologists say that good mental health springs from two things: security and significance. Security in who we are and significance in what we do. Since Christ is the source of peace, joy, strength, and rest, and in Him we live and move and have our very being, we can be secure and feel significant when we place our trust in Jesus.
Lord, there are so many times when I feel afraid and insecure. Today I recognize that in You I live, move, and have my being—my life is secure and significant because I am Your child and Your servant.
― Joni Eareckson Tada