Your face lights up when you say their name. Your heart skips a beat when they smile, especially in your direction. You hate goodbyes and eagerly anticipate every new hello. You can’t wait to spend time with them. You spend hours listening to their stories, sharing your own, getting to know each other deeply. You let them take you on the wildest adventures and invest in lessons to learn their favorite activity so you can enjoy it together. You fix things just the way they like them because you know it touches their heart. When you overflow with details about them or the times you’ve spent together, friends and family just tilt their head with a knowing smile and indulge you because they know this is your heart. This is love.
It could be a spouse, or a child, or a parent, or a friend, or a mentor. This person has impacted you in unique and special ways. You respect them. You enjoy them. You learn from them. There is a heart-to-heart connection, an unspoken understanding, and yet something fresh and new that helps you grow in unexpected ways. They bring out the best in you. You trust them. They mean the world to you and nothing brings you greater joy than to know you mean the world to them too.
My thoughts started down this path the other day when I was challenged by two questions posed by Donald Norbie in Choice Gleanings. “When you leave this life, what will others remember about you? Will they remember your love for the Lord?”
Do others know that I love the Lord? What will others see – or more importantly, what will the Lord see – in my attitudes or actions today that expresses a deepening love for Him? If knowing Him and loving Him is my priority, does that change what I do or how I do it?
I was sitting at the kitchen table with a typically full Monday ahead of me. Laundry. Groceries. Meal planning. Exercise. Phone calls. Mapping out the rest of our week. My usual Monday felt so far from anything focused on love for my Savior. So I whispered a simple prayer that the Lord would guide my thoughts through each step in my day and give me His vision for any changes that could draw me closer to Him or bring Him more glory.
The Lord grabbed my attention with things that were simpler than I expected. Two verses immediately came to mind: “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ~ “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.” John 13:34 Do the things He directs… the way He says to do them… and love others.
To follow His commands, I need to know them. So despite a full day ahead, I thought, “I could show love for Him by putting my list on hold and lingering here at the table with my open Bible.” Deciding to read, to listen, to invest in getting to know Him better, to understand His heart well enough to please Him – this is love.
To better understand what I read or what I experience, I need to ask questions – I need to come into His presence and listen for His voice. Reaching for Him in prayer at any moment in my day says that I value His input, I need His direction, I crave His wisdom and I need the fruit of His Spirit to infuse me – this is love.
Spending time with the Lord will always change me. He will always touch my heart, challenge my character, impact me deeply in ways that will overflow. The more time I spend, the more time I will want to spend. It will become harder to be out of contact, the eagerness to spend that time will intensify. I will trust Him to take me on the wildest adventures. I will work hard to learn new skills He wants me to use for Him – this is love.
As I stepped into the active part of my day, through the errands and chores and even in my workout, these thoughts kept coming:
When I hold my fully planned day (or empty day) out to the Lord with open hands and a willing heart, it says I want Him to confirm it or redirect it, that I trust that He has a plan that is better than mine… always! – this is love.
When I am willing to take those detours, as small as stopping to smile or share a few moments of conversation with a stranger or as big as completely scrapping my plan to help someone in greater need, it says that I know my best days are when He surprises me and I just go where He leads – this is love.
When I recognize every provision and blessing He sends, from the beautiful sky to the needed rain to a delicious meal to protection from a near-accident on the road, and take time to thank Him and to praise Him for it – this is love.
When I see others the way He sees them, see their unique beauty and worth, and I treat them the way He would treat them if He were walking right beside me, it says that I want to love whom He loves, and I want to love them the way He does – this is love.
When I get all excited about something new I have discovered about Jesus and share every thrilling detail with anyone who will listen, I give testimony to the reality of God in my life – my face lights up and His glory shines through His own transforming power at work inside me – this is love.
When others cannot possibly spend 10 minutes in conversation with me without hearing something about my Savior, they know what He means to me – that this is love.
When I desire simply to touch His heart, to bring delight to Him, to do things just the way He likes them, the way He is teaching me to do them, I honor Him – this is love.
When I humble myself to confess something that has come between myself and my Savior – some sin in my life that interrupts my relationship with Him – and I ask for His forgiveness and for His help to repent and be transformed by Him – this is love.
When I take time simply to adore Him, to be awed by His very nature, and fall before Him in worship and praise and honor, especially when no one else sees or knows about those quiet moments for an audience of One – when I choose to put on praise music and sing along as I fold laundry or wash dishes – this is love.
When those moments of worship transform even the simplest tasks from “getting it done” to “serving my family with joy and diligence” it says that I value the roles He has given me and I want to honor Him by giving my best to them – this is love.
When I pull back from life’s demands, the tugs on my heart to go and do and conquer and even do great, eternally important things for God, and choose to just sit as the feet of my Savior, to be tucked away in His embrace, longing simply to be captivated by Him – this is love.
When I rest in His provisions and leave the planning up to Him, when I simply delight in Him and treasure HIM, I will never need to wonder if others see my love for the Lord – how could I ever spend that time with Him, with eyes for only HIM, and the impact of that love not be evident?
“When they looked up, they saw JESUS only.” Matthew 17:8
“Whom have I in heaven but You? There is nothing on earth I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
God is the very definition of LOVE. My Savior gave everything to bring me into an intimate and eternal relationship with Him. May He continue to touch and win my heart and draw me into a deeper and deeper love for Him in return. I know I mean the world to Him, may it delight His heart and bring Him JOY to know that He means the world to me too!
[photo credit: Char Geletka]
May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling all I do and say
May the Word of Christ dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour
So that all may see I triumph only through His power
May the peace of Christ my Savior rule my life in every thing
That I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing
May the love of Jesus fill me, as the waters fill the sea,
Him exalting, self abasing, this is victory
May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe
Looking only unto Jesus as I onward go
May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win
And may they forget the channel, seeing only HIM.
[K. B. Wilkinson 1859-1928]