It may be St. Patrick’s Day, but God is speaking to me as if it’s Valentine’s Day, for His theme for me seems to be ‘love’. 

Our pastor preached about love in church yesterday.  Then a dear friend in Christ shared today about how she was ‘washed’ with love from the Holy Spirit after giving her heart to Christ.  It reminded me of my ‘moment’ with God when my heart was filled with the love of the Holy Spirit. Although you couldn’t see it happening to me physically, I could feel it physically.  It felt like I was getting bigger and bigger.  I felt like the ‘blueberry’ girl in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  In that moment, my heart was changed forever!  

That moment came after God spoke to me for the first time, in answer to prayer about how to respond to someone who was upsetting me.  His answer was, “Just keep loving her”.  I’ll never forget that moment, when God took a moment of time away from everything else in the world to speak to me!  I was so awed, humbled, elated, amazed…so many things all at once, that I started laughing and crying at the same time.   I was thanking Him and praising Him, and then it happened.  My heart started to fill up, as if being inflated, with the love of the Holy Spirit. 

Just last week ‘love’ was the theme word for our Bible study.  We read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – the “Love is…” verses.  We reminded ourselves that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30).  How appropriate that the Bible should give us specific instruction on how to love. 

 My friend who was ‘washed’ in love also shared that when she’s trying to figure out what to do or how to respond in a situation, she begins by going to her Bible to review the “Love is….”  verses.  What a great thing to do!  I search the Bible for verses that pertain to what’s on my mind, but she goes first to learn how to love the person/people in her concerns.  Before ‘doing’ anything, she follows the greatest commandment – to love.  I should have thought of that, too.  After all, when I sought God about how to approach someone who concerned me, He didn’t instruct me to approach them in any way.  He instructed me to just keep loving them.  He took care of the rest. 

While flipping through pages of my Bible this afternoon, my eyes fell on this verse and I’d like to share it with you:

  1 Corinthians 16:13   “Be on guard.  Stand true to what you believe.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  And everything you do must be done with love.”   

Did you catch that last phrase?  Everything we do must be done with love.  It might not always be easy, but it’s a challenge I’m going to take. 

Here’s another ‘love’ verse from this week’s Disciple Bible study:  

“You have been called in freedom to serve one another in love.”  Galatians 5:13

Especially as we start Holy Week, approaching Easter, wouldn’t it be a great honor to Jesus Christ himself if we purpose to do everything with love.  He did.  He lived and died the greatest love of all – and He did so for each of us, our loved ones, friends, and everyone we meet.   That means being loving in everything with our spouses, children (even when they take our last ounce of patience), parents, work situations, when we drive, when we’re out running errands, while pursuing activities, enjoying good times, handling tough times, and working through difficult times – sometimes working with difficult people. 

How might your relationships and your effect on others be changed if you do everything with love?  Let’s do our best with this, accepting this challenge for the entire week – going all the way through Easter.  For me this will mean watching my tone of voice, being more patient, and not letting grumpiness or crankiness take over.  If you accept this challenge, I’d love to hear back from you to see how it goes and what differences it might make in your life!

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for loving us enough to die on the cross for us, to give us freedom for our sins so that we could be free to love one another.  In Your Holy name we pray.  Amen.