Love is a Verb

Welcome to Real Life.  Last week, we began a conversation on love.  This week, we'll look at another aspect of love.

Mom and I
“The way you smiled just now, you looked like your mother,” Nora said.  My mom’s Hungarian friend Nora was teaching me how to make strudel.  Her comment took me by surprise.  No one ever says I look like my mother.  (My features resemble my father’s side of the family.) My mom is known for her joyful countenance.  I love her smile.  So, I was pleased to hear that my smile imitated hers.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV (1984)

Last week, I mentioned that for a long time it was hard for me to experience God’s love.  During those years, I would read this verse and focus on “Be imitators of God” while overlooking “as dearly loved children.”  I’d try hard to be like God without really knowing his love.

Now, I see the importance of the whole verse.  Just as my mother’s smile gives me such pleasure that I want to imitate it.  In the same way, my Heavenly Father’s love gives me such pleasure that I want to imitate it.  You must know his love to imitate it.  From God's perspective, trying to be good without love is meaningless.[1]

On the other hand, godly behavior motivated by love is powerful.  An old DC Talk song said, “Luv is a verb.”  Love prompts action.  Sometimes the action prompted by love is easy and natural (like kissing a baby, sending a card, and buying a friend lunch).  Sometimes it is plain hard work (like changing diapers, scrubbing floors, and dying on a cross).  I've been a caregiver to both my parents and my in-laws.  I love them all, but I don’t always like being a caregiver. One day I was complaining to the Lord, “This is too hard.  I’m tired.  I don’t want to do this anymore.”

He answered, “Peggi, you’re always saying you want to be more like me.  You are never more like me than when you are selflessly caring for your parents.”  That’s Real Life.

I may have my mother’s smile, but do I have my Father’s heart?

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so dearly.  Transform my heart and my actions with your love.  Amen

Something to think about…
  • Who do you resemble?
  • You are a dearly loved child of God.  Enjoy that thought.
  • What one thing can you do today to reflect your Heavenly Father’s heart?
Next week, we'll begin a series on Abraham and surrender. 

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:1-3


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