“We’re writing scripture on the floors of all the rooms, come on in, we’ll give you a tour,” said my friend as we climbed over the gravel of their future front porch.
We walked through the raw lumber into the master bedroom. In the middle of the room lay a bible, open to 1 Corinthians 13, a thick black sharpie, and the words “Love is patient,” handwritten on the plywood of the floor. Soon the rest of the passage would be added with the marker, and my friends would magically love each other perfectly the whole time they lived in this house, right?
” Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
If only it were that easy! If it were, I would have my sharpie handy to write on top of my finished hardwood floors in my home to guarantee we all loved each other well. But the truth is, God’s word doesn’t move in power unless his people actually take it to heart and do what it says.
My friends will know these words are a few layers below the carpet as they tread upon it, day after day, year after year. They will be walking over them on days when there is laughter and lightheartedness, and on days when there is pain and heartache. And when their feet pass over them they will remember they can only love one another with this kind of love through God’s Spirit, because this is God’s kind of love, agape.
Some versions use the word charity. You receive it from the Lord and then you freely give it, like you give to charities, not expecting any return except the joy of giving it. The characteristics of God’s kind of love in the passage above show me when I’m loving the people in my own home with a human kind of love, (which happens on a daily basis). But thankfully, there is an easy way to remember how get back to loving them with HIS LOVE.
The secret: remember how God has loved you. Take some moments to remember how he loved you at your worst. Maybe even in the exact moment you know you are failing miserably at loving your family — you just yelled at your kids, or snapped at your husband. He is patient with you. Ask him for forgiveness, ask your family for forgiveness, and know His love keeps no record of wrongs. See it there on the list of all your shortcomings that was nailed to Jesus’ cross. Now walk forward and ask him to help you love with his kind of love.
You just can’t do it without Him. This is the kind of love only his Spirit living inside of you can produce and pour out onto those around you. It’s heavenly.
On the Facebook group this week, I set out a challenge to memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and I challenge you to do the same. Know the characteristics of His kind of love, so that you can recognize when you have stepped outside of His Spirit and when you are trying to love your tribe with your own humanity apart from Him. When it happens, simply ask him to help you be controlled once again by his Spirit and see his faithfulness to respond and be strong in your weakness (or tiredness, sweet mamas!)
” But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
*This post is the first in a series of 9 on the fruit of the Spirit. May we press into Him and rely on His Spirit to bear this kind of fruit where it matters most — in our relationship with Him, our marriages, our mothering, and our homes. ❤