I sat down once with a man who gave me a plan about how to change the world. Within 10-15 minutes he downloaded a strategy of winning 10 people to Jesus who in turn win 10 people, who in turn win 10 people…You get the idea. He has actually used this strategy and seen movements start in nations. The only problem is I’m not him. It hasn’t exactly panned out for me that way. So I want to propose a different way.
Now before you check out, read the whole paragraph. I propose love – plain and simple. If you’re a guy reading this blog, I realize that word may fall deafly on your ears and you may think that you have heard it all before. For guys, love often invokes a picture of fluffy white clouds and oozing emotions. It’s not that we don’t want to love, it’s just that we think we have exhausted that topic or we have that one down, I mean, how much can there be to it, right? Ok, maybe you are not quite that confident that you’ve mastered it, but can I propose that we are all probably further than we think from hitting the mark? After all, love is the standard Jesus has given us to measure everything else.
I’m not talking about the kind of love you may be picturing. I’m talking about the kind of love that “takes a licking and keeps on ticking;” the kind of love that gets whipped and shredded to bits and then picks up an old rugged cross and carries it to the top of knoll called, “the Place of the Skull.” I’m talking about a man’s man. One who could love so tenderly and then turn around and rebuke a tough hardened fisherman for allowing satan to speak through him. I’m talking about the one who stood up to worldly authority when He needed to and could also crouch down with the lowest of the low to hear their story, touch their disease ridden bodies, and heal them completely. I’m talking about love…personified. You know His name. Most people do. Even if you don’t believe in Him, this man, Jesus, personifies love.
I wonder what would happen if we took one year to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7? Or better yet, let’s start with a week. I have been going for a week and I haven’t yet graduated past “love is patient and kind.” Love is the most challenging thing on earth. I don’t mean Hollywood love or the emotional feeling of love. I mean agape love, or unconditional love; love that lays down its life for its friends. How can we love unconditionally when we are conditional people? How can we love without exception when we make exceptions all the time? How can we esteem others better than ourselves when we are so used to esteeming ourselves first?
Take a deep breath, I’m not going to tell you how because I don’t have the answers…yet. I could rattle off some rote scriptural formula but that’s not going to help anyone. I know the answer is rooted in relationship with Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, but on a day to day basis I’m falling far short.
I was looking over 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 about a week ago and to my horror discovered I had broken every standard in the passage probably within a week. Before you balk at my shortcomings, you may want to do a self-evaluation with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 as your mirror. You could also ask your spouse or a loved one how you are doing according to that standard. You may be surprised.
So let me tell you where I am starting. I am starting at, “love is patient and kind,” and I’m not moving on until I have those two down. How about you? Is anyone ready to go on a journey into the heart of God and discover what love really is and how to walk it out?
 Former slogan for Timex brand watches