Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: True Love


Deciding to Love

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

The very first novel I wrote I stuck in a drawer, never again to see the light of day. It was a mess, and after trying to fix it I decided it just wasn’t meant to be.

Occasionally, though, one of the scenes will pop into my head like a little echo while I’m writing something else. Often they’re the gems hidden in the dross. That was the case today when I sat down to write this devotional featuring the verse above. In a scene from that ‘lost novel’ a man named Owen is sitting in the office of the church pastor who is attempting a ‘come to Jesus.’ The pastor reads these verses to Owen, who realizes that real love requires sacrifice. Romantic love takes us over in a rush, but the kind of love God calls us to is different. Love is a decision. It’s choosing faith over fear.

In the same scene, the pastor also reads a quote from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Owen is gutted by these words because he sees that that was what he had been doing to his own heart – walling it off, keeping all emotion at bay so he could function day to day – instead of facing his pain and receiving healing. A heart like that is incapable of love.

There has been a lot written about love, but nothing can match the example of love that Jesus Christ gave when He voluntarily laid down his life for us on the cross. On top of that, He actually bore our sins, which is something that we have no real ability to comprehend.

God’s Word (The Holy Bible) tells us that such a great sacrifice is the foundational truth for our love of other people, considering them more important than ourselves, praying for them, assisting them, and fulfilling God’s command in Scripture that calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. True love is only truly understood through the revelation of God in the Bible, which calls us to love God first, thus fulfilling the requirements of what love actually is.

To love is to persevere. In marriage, in parenting, even in friendships love is tested. If we truly love, that love goes on. These verses give us the standard and boy is it high. Because love in its true sense comes only from God, it is only through a saving faith in Jesus Christ that it’s even possible to come close to attaining it.

~*~
Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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