Do You Really Love?
My Spiritual friend, do you light a lover’s fire for your significant other? Do the ashes of desire for them remain when the flames begin to abate? If you were to see a family member whom you have not seen for sometime, although you know they exist, hug and kiss them; speak with them, catching up in all the past events? Yet, so it is, that we mill about in our life and dismiss our closest companion.
During this season of Lent, may I begin with the first link in this golden chain, namely, love for Christ: “If a man love me.” This “if” seems to stand at the entrance of our text, like a watchman at the gate of a palace, to prevent anybody from entering who should not enter. It is an “if” with which to examine yourself, for not everyone loves the Lord Jesus Christ. If you cannot answer in the affirmative the question asked by the lips of Jesus himself, “Do you me Love?”  you have nothing to do with the rest of the verse.
True love cannot be passive for long. It is like fire, having an active nature. It must be at work. Love longs for expression, for it cannot be mute. If you were to command it not to express itself, you then command it not to live. True love is not satisfied with expressing itself only in words. Of course, it uses words, but it is painfully conscious of their feebleness. The full meaning of love cannot be conveyed in any humble language. For it breaks the very backs of words and crushes them to atoms with all that it means.
Love must express itself in deeds, as the old proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” Love also delights in making sacrifices. She rejoices in denying herself. In fact, the more costly the sacrifice, the more pleasure love takes in making it. She will not offer that which costs her nothing. She loves to endure pains and losses, for this is how she expresses herself best. Today, as in the past we cannot dismiss the ‘give and take’ with any relationship. Thus, parts of us surrender for the other and the survival of our relationship.
I know of no other love to compare with sacrifice than that of a Mother’s…for she willingly surrenders her body for the gestation period, knowing full well the inevitable pain which awaits her as a lioness awaits crouched in the grasses for its prey, and quickly runs ever faster in full-gallop, with no mercy, claws extended, quickly incarcerates its victim.
Yet, I know of no mother who does not readily dismisses all…yes the complete experience, for the bundle of joy which is given to her in reward for her surrender and endurance. No…indeed I know of know one reading this, who has not a mother, who has not also succumb to this.
However, it does to God Himself; for “God is love,” and being love, He must display love. Merely speaking of His love is not enough. His love must manifest itself in action. More than that, God could not rest until He had made the greatest sacrifice that He could make and had given up His only begotten Son, to die in the place of sinners.
God does not come to us and say, “Men and women, I love you. You must believe that I love you, although I do nothing for you to prove My love.” Nor does He ask us to believe in His love, but He has given us abundant proofs of it. Therefore, He has a right to claim our belief in it. In a more literal translation of our text, the apostle of love tells us, “Hereby we come to know—we do know—'the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.' ”
Just as we learn the love of others by seeing what they are prepared to sacrifice for us, so it is even with God Himself. We discover, discern, perceive, and are made to know the love that He bears to us by the fact that “he laid down his life for us.” There are several ways in which we see God demonstrating this remarkable love to the saints, the first being His acts of love.
My spiritual friend, do you love another, do you see them? Do you spend time with them, thereby fanning those flames of desire and thereby consuming the energy in this experience? How often we readily accept a lost family member who has not been a part of our family fold, and yet, open heartedly accept them into and hold nothing back. Oh, how often a mother longs for the child whom she, for numerous reasons, gave this infant up for a better life, yet does not have an inkling of them in real time.
Yet,.. if they were to walk up to her and say “Hi Mom!”
Oh….I cannot begin to fathom the influx of thoughts not alone the stormy emotions, which would pelt down upon her understanding as if in a hail storm. No…no I cannot! Nevertheless, with these same convictions, these same factors, God speaks to us and we dismiss them as though He was simply a panic button, or a stuffed animal we occasionally hug and talk to.
My spiritual friend, if we love those that we readily see or even those who we know of, yet have not seen for some time, and even encompassing those who have passed away, yet let no idle, nor slander be spoken in your presence before such ire, will slay the would be offender.
Ah, such devotion, …yet may I say, what have you in your heart’s hearth? Does the fire still blaze or is there simply a glow in the embers, fort the bellows has no keeper. May I say to you, no ‘Smith’ ever allows the flames to retard. Nor does a true love ever dissipate from the memory.
Come now, and stoke those embers, fan them well and experience its warmth, which shall shield you from the coldness brought on by others, and shall be a light for you to focus and shall heat up all that you place in it purifying it and yielding it to your hammer of determination as you once again assail it against the anvil of faith.
May you love greatly, give often, empty yourself that you may be filled with newness, let not your being be merely a vessel to store, for surely it will become stale with time...be fresh. For although, and for some of us it has come to pass, the loss of our mothers is irreplaceable, there will never be that same voice on the other side of the phone’s receiver to speak to us, to express their unconditional love. For there is no number to call. Oh…but prayers from a circumcised heart is readily responded to by God. He does not sleep, nor is His phone ever disconnected…go now and call upon Him, share your love!
As the season of Lent is upon us and Easter’s sunrise awaits us. Come and be prepared!
Bro Smith SGS