Real Love

Ahh yes. Love is in the air, the Valentine season is upon us. This time of year is always fantastic in my family. My parents were married on Valentine’s Day and each year my dad gives my mom a decorated heart shaped box, our house is filled with them and it’s a beautiful sight to see. This time of year is great but it asks a question, what is love? (*cue the song “what is love” by Haddaway). We talk about love and loving things, but what does it mean to have a real love? Last week we uncovered the fact that we all have potential weirdness inside of us, meaning that we are in the family of Christ and that means we have been set apart. Part of being weird is an understanding of what real love is and what that looks like. The best part is, we don’t have to wonder what real love is. In children’s ministry we have been looking at love and our memory verse encapsulates what real love is. In the NIRV (one of the most down to earth bible translations) 1 John 4:10 says, “Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins.” Real love is Christ dying for us.

I love that we are teaching our kids this in ministry, because it outlines the way we need to show love to others. We serve a mighty king that died for us in order that we could live in freedom. When we understand this fact, it changes the way we live our lives. I see it each day in the lives of people I know. Real love is stepping out and being kind to others. Real love is worshiping God in the midst of suffering knowing that God will work in all things. Real love is speaking into the life of someone close to you and helping them when they struggle. I get to watch and see real love in the lives of people I know acting out these same principles. Real love is seeing students in your high school ministry like Kaylee who was a buddy to someone at a prom for people with special needs and disabilities, acting in real love to share the love of God to others. That is a powerful story of real love and powerful example of a student that we should learn from. Real love is worshiping like one of my small group leaders and mentors named Mike, who in the midst of medical struggles (I’d rather not get into deep details) and his body holding him back from being able to stand, praises God. A man that I want to live like even when my body fails, always giving glory to God in all things. That is real love in the midst of adversity. Real love is an encouraging word that I desperately needed from my friend and brother Andrew this past week. A selfless voice of prayer in my life when I was feeling like the world was against me. That is real love when we see the people close to us needing a word. Real love is active and alive. These people are weird, and these people understand the freedom in real love.

Real love needs to be active.

That verse I referenced above tells us that God sent his son, he had to be active in showing love. Love is not a feeling, love is a choice that we must make each day. I choose to love God. I choose to love people. Our feelings change with the weather, so we need to capture those feelings and choose love. We must each day choose to love, because when we do, it will dictate the way our mind functions. We essentially retrain our brains to go from selfish to selfless. This is weird, but you’re a weirdo now and that’s just fine. I’d love to live in a world where each of us showed love to others, not focused on ourselves, but focused on the fact that each person has been made by God with a purpose. We need to be active, because real love needs to be active.

Real love will require sacrifice.

In order to make room for love, you have to let some things go. God sacrificed his son for us. Now I’m not saying you need to let go of your child, but I am saying that it’s time to let go of the things that are holding you back. This means giving up being comfortable, not making too big of waves in your life. It’s time to make waves. It’s time to start acting in love and be a tsunami for Christ to everything around you in your life. We are weird. We are the children of God. God called us to make disciples of all nations, he never told us to be complacent with going to church on Sunday. God wants us to get in the fight, because we are in a fight. God wants us to let go of our wants and get involved. He wants us to serve, to be in community, and spread the gospel to everyone we meet. Real love is not a passive concept, it is a battle axe in a war over the world. Real love will require sacrifice, and the sacrifice will be so worth it.

real-love

I’ve been thinking about real love lately. The fact that we have a God who loves each of us so much that he would send his son to die for us, in order to bring us into freedom just blows my mind. We have a God that died and rose again so that the gap would be bridged, and that we could have a real relationship with a God that loves us so much. That is real love. We need to live out this kind of real love. We need to make a change in the world we live in, saying that enough is enough, to choose to stand for what God calls us to. You are his children. We are all God’s children. Real love is active and will require sacrifice, but the reward of showing love to others will be greater than anything on this earth. Christ died for us, and that is real love. In this season of Valentines, remember what real love truly is in the midst of being surrounded in love. Real love is that Christ died and rose again to save us, and because of that, we have the power to act in real love to everyone.

Choose to be weird. Choose to live knowing the power of living a life that is based in real love.

-Joshua Thomas

Have any stories about acting in real love? Leave a comment below and share yours or someone else’s story about acting in real love. I think we all need to give credit to awesome people in our lives that are showing what it means to have a real love of others.

Stay tuned next week in the continuing of how to be weird when we talk about your super powers. Don’t miss it! Subscribe to the blog or email updates so you don’t miss a thing.

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