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As I write this, I’m not for sure where it will go. I know the phrase “False Love”  popped in my head one day and I couldn’t help but write about it.  When something is false it’s not real, true or valid.  It might even masquerade as real, but underneath its motive is anything but authentic.  My mind started to weave and wander down the curious pathways it always does when I’m trying to figure out what God is saying and it landed on this: “Love is a choice and an action. It is not a feeling and its fruit is presented in the way we carry out our lives. It’s not based on following a set of rules, endorsing an organization, or giving money to charities. Real love is sacrifice. It is supposed to shake up our comfort zones.”

This verse pops up in my head: “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (MSG) Love should compel us. Love should be the reason behind everything that we do. Examining the motives behind our to-do lists and accolades should cause us to pause. Are we just “noisy gongs and clanging cymbals?” or “creaking rusty gates”? Do we run around to our different programs and events but snap at our family members on the way to them?  This indicates that we are not doing these things out of love; but out of obligation. Its great to get involved and help out, but not to fulfill  your ‘good Christian checklist’.  Service without real love is not far reaching. It creates limits on how far we’ll go. Once we feel we have done our ‘civic’ duty we’re done.

 

I’m certainly guilty of this. For example; I started volunteering in my local church’s youth group. I’m back home for awhile so I really wanted to get involved.  I had the right heart of wanting to serve, but it was easy for me to shift into that ‘check-list’ mindset. Of course, I  really do have a passion for teenagers and college aged students, but I have this suffocating fear of actually going up to kids and getting to know them. It’s like my social anxiety wrapped itself around my usually outgoing self and left me stuck. Well, God sort of challenged me on many things at the beginning of the year and one of them was actually pushing me to become more intentional with my life.  He challenged me to step out in faith, and open up my home to have a Valentine’s Day party for the girls at my youth group. To step out beyond my comfort zone, and fight through that awkwardness. He wanted me to cast off my fear to be able to give real love. So I  actually did it with the help of other great leaders. This whole ‘stepping out’ is causing me to form connections with other people. It is causing me to trust that I have something to offer. Was the beginning of the night awkward? Sure, but we got through it and everyone ended up having a blast! I don’t share this to toot my own horn, but to show that there is far more to  being a Christian than just ‘showing up’.  I was being a good church member: I showed up, signed some kids in and then went home.  Anyone can do that. Love reaches far beyond showing up, checking off, and making lists. Love opens up, love fights through the awkwardness, love is passionate and vibrant and not robotic.

I challenge you to really love in this season of your life. Open up the doors of your heart and home and let people in! Take the time to really see how someone is doing. Look past the monotonous routine of Sunday mornings and just showing up and really look into the eyes of the people you serve. It’s worth it, and I’m learning that you will find something beautiful.

 

**Check out this blog by Sharon Hodde Miller that convicted me so much: http://sheworships.com/8974-2

Resources:

Warren, Rick. “The Bible Says Love Is An Action.” The Bible Says Love Is An Action. N.p., 21 May 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

“32 Bible Verses about False Love.” What Does the Bible Say About False Love? N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. April Hargrove

Ms. April Hargrove

"God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end” (Exodus 33:14).