Devotional 9/18

 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. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

For those who believe in God, it can be comforting to believe that God loves everybody. “Even me?” Yes, you, too. I suppose it has to be a matter of faith to believe it, since there’s little evidence, for most of us. God never gave me anything I prayed for, and for most of my life, He never gave me the feeling or even the illusion that God loves me.
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What is Love? I think it depends on who you ask. Most of what we know as love comes directly from what we have received and perceived as love. For some, love can be a simple emotion, or a connection, some feel protection or acceptance, and others understand love as responsibility and commitment. I have studied people, it is one of my quirks; I have met a few who are desperately clingy, others extremely detached but both call themselves expressing love (in their own ways). I know people who have serious issues with loving others, being extremely shy and reserved or not being able to love because they are self centered loving only themselves. All the life experienced, teaches us what is love and how to love.

I understand that our psychological and emotional maturity they develops from childhood into adulthood. It is like Pavlov’s Classical conditioning theory. His dog learned that when he heard a bell ring, he would get food. So before actually seeing or smelling the food, he would begin salivating simply hearing the bell ring. He was conditioned to expect, and we can be like Pavlov’s dog. Life has conditioned me to not trust people, even if they claim to love me. So I developed a protective shell around myself, including unhealthy self defense habits in order to avoid being hurt by “love”. I am very much a good hearted person, and a very giving person but I am also very wary of people’s intentions. Even though I have been in long term relationships, I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced real love. Being in relationships, really liking or lusting, even having sex with someone does not mean we are experiencing love.

Image result for perfect loveAnother aspect of ‘love’, is the reflection of love we have received in family relations. For me, its always been a battle to love and receive love, because of my daddy and mommy issues. For many men and women, the image of their parents communicating with each other is what shapes their own relationships in the future. More than 90 percent of abusers and victims involved in domestic violence as children, will develop similar characteristics in time. That’s over 90%! Most of our family relationships, are entangled with strife, anger, jealousy, criticism, rejection or dismissive tendencies; if these are the people that were God given to love us, would our view of Love be whole and not damaged? Believers often say: “Jesus loves you”, and He does. God needs you to know that He accepts and welcomes you, as you are. Just like a partnership in marriage, we marry imperfect people!  It is difficult to accept that we can still be sinners, in our bodies, minds, or hearts- but it is true even with our friends, family and spouses. God forgives us, how can we not forgive others? As a Christian, messing up throughout your walk is almost a guarantee- you will curse, you will lie, you will doubt, you will lust, overspend, you will deny Jesus one way or another but your conviction of God’s love for you should be stronger than any condemnation that the enemy throws your way. We will fail God, just like we fail our friends and family, we cheat on God even if it is not physical- we cheat with our minds and physical desires, we even lust after things with our hearts- just like spouses do. It is not necessary to physically cheat on someone to be cheating, the thoughts or ideas that come into our heads without stopping them equals cheating. We will argue, disagree and even question God, as we do with our parents or spouses too. It is a reality we face on a daily basis. Except that God will not stop loving us, our parents and spouses can reject or dismiss us but God will not.

Our maturity depends on the lies we replace by God’s truth. As Christian, we technically have no excuse to overcome fears and bad habits or attitudes, because as we grow in God- we should grow in nature. It is not easy, but it is possible. This is the same for spiritual growth and secular growth: worldly people (without God) train themselves to be people of integrity and excellence. In the secular world, they understand that our subconscious mind is set to be negative- and instead of using God’s word- they use positive affirmations and instead of using faith, they use the law of attraction (creative visualization).

Let’s pray:

God, I thank you for your love. Even though we may doubt your love and even dismiss your love because it is not often manifested in ways which we desire, I thank you it. I thank you for waking us up, for giving us strength and health, and a sound mind. You don’t have to but you do. I thank you for each person in our lives, who we have had the pleasure of spending time with in conversation or leisure. I thank you for all the provisions, and the needs which you meet. May we grow by your divine nature, which is Love. I pray that you would guard our hearts, from the lies of the enemy, when he would tell us that you do not love us; may we reciprocate the love you have for us back to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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