His way is love
Since it is God's way, shouldn't it be our way too?
"Love" is a four-letter word that evokes multifaceted responses from people across all ages. There are at least 10 definitions in the English dictionary and several more in other languages. Love has a multilayer of meanings that some languages have distinct words to convey it in different contexts.
The definition that gets me and confounds me the most is: God is love.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The Bible best describes how God is love.
This is love
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins but takes its delight in the truth. Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.
Love never ends. . .
Often read at wedding ceremonies, these verses from I Corinthians 13 embody God's character. We can see His "love character" all over the Bible. The Israelites' journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom and victory in the promised land of Canaan and the life of Jesus Christ show how deep and great God's love is.
Let me go back to the question I asked earlier, "Since God's way is love, shouldn't it be our way too?" It should be, but everything in our nature tells us otherwise.
We express annoyance instead of patience. When something bad happens to someone we don't like, we gloat. We give in to "back door or under the table" deals to make things slide. We have a hard time forgetting records of wrongs that we give up on relationships easily. We embellish our stories with little white lies instead of delighting in the truth.
There are various other things that we think and do which unfortunately show how far we have strayed from God’s way. Our way and the world’s way are so ingrained in us that we need a total heart and mind reset.
Reboot and reset
I like standing at our kitchen window sink because it opens to trees. There is a huge avocado tree right in front of it and local birds of different varieties like to perch there and make different chirps, tweets, and warbles.
It is in this calming atmosphere where God has spoken to me many times. On this occasion, I asked Him how to reboot and reset my heart and mind. His answer was simple: It begins with being quiet before Him so we can listen to His Spirit, His voice.
In quieting ourselves before Him, we learn to distinguish His voice among the many voices we hear, including ours.
When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, His Spirit begins to dwell in us. In essence, God lives in us. Many times though we forget this truth and unconsciously continue on with our old ways ignoring His ways.
It is no wonder Jesus Christ set an example of having a regular private one-on-one with the Father. He needed to receive daily instruction and fellowship with the Father so He could do what the Father wants Him to do all the time.
Living in God's ways is intentional. We don't leave our lives to chance but we walk in His ways by following His Spirit who lives within us. Sometimes it's easier to go and do what we used to do, but if we truly want to show God that we love Him then we should heed His commands.
Plainly summed up
I love how God makes things simple for us to make sure we'll understand. How do we follow His way of love? Remarkably, Jesus' answer to what is the greatest commandment of all shows us what to do (my highlights in bold):
Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If you love God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength, there is absolutely no way you'll keep doing things your way.
If you will love your neighbor (other people) as yourself, you'll definitely not do anything to hurt them because you wouldn't deliberately hurt yourself.
Our every thought and action are now pegged on those two commandments. This is how we are to live.
How are you following His ways so far? Step back, detach, take stock. It's time to go to your quiet place and listen.