Off week for FYG.
Last week I finished reading the book "Reduce Me to Love" by Joyce Meyer (keep an eye out, maybe a copy will be a give away). I use the term "finished" loosely, because this is one of those books that I marked up the pages and know that I will come back to many times, mostly because for me loving like Christ is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute battle. But yet, the most important attribute of Christ (I Cor. 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing) and the first thing we are to draw up from the spirit (Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy...).
Faith that can move mountains. My faith is strong, but does my faith stand up to my mountains, that they will be crumbled, to my giants, that they will be slayed. I'm getting there, I know I am.
But love. Love is one of those things, for me, that it took digging in to realize I need to be humbled, that in learning the love walk, I am still merely crawling. If that.
On September 9, 2009 I wrote in my personal blog:
The deal is, the devil... SUCKS. I don't particularly care for the word "sucks" but in this instance, I can't describe it any other fashion. He is putting me in situations and around people that are difficult to LOVE. They don't treat me with LOVE and so my initial reaction is not to give it back. If they don't love me, why should I love them? Then God says, "Really, Mary?! Really?" Or something like that. Then you have a duh moment. God sent His son to save the WORLD. The whole WORLD. All of us, the undeserving.
Meyer points out that when Jesus was being crucified, He was comforting the thief next to him (Luke 23:39-43). When Stephen was being stoned, he prayed for those stoning him asking God not to lay the sin to their charge (Acts 7:59-60). When Paul and Silas were in prison, they took time to minister to their jailer (Acts 16:25-34).
Here I am reminded of the song by Casting Crowns called "If We are the Body". The song talks about people entering the church, looking for a refuge and realizing that they are being teased, that they are being judged. That people are picking and choosing who to love and the song says "Jesus paid much to high a price for us to pick and choose who should come" and continues with, "But if we are the Body, why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? Why aren't His words teaching? And if we are the Body, why aren't His feet going? Why is His love not showing them there is a way? There is a way. Jesus is the way."
I have so much work to do. I am incomplete, but I am still completely His.
This morning, this is the prayer that I would ask you to join me in.
"Lord, you are putting me face to face with some challenging people. People who do not treat me with love, nor do they treat themselves with love. People that are easy for me to judge. People who put their judgmental weight on my shoulders. People who make me feel like I am better than they. People who encourage me to fall prey to the material things of this world. Thank you for these challenges so that I may grow in love and learn to love as you first loved us. Forgive me for my judgmental thoughts and glances. Forgive me for my words. Guard my heart, Lord, that I may love everyone. Be my words, Lord, that I may be your light. Give me your contagious Spirit, that I may be a woman of your word. Give me your strength. Give me your wisdom. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me, the underserved. Thank you for forgiving me so that I may start fresh in my walk with you. Go ahead of me and blaze my trail. Help me to love others without regard for what I will receive in return. Show me your ways. Amen."