Tag Archive: ten ways to love

so this is the last of the ten ways to Love and it might be good to mention again that i got these on a list and just expounded on them – this was originally number 4 but i bumped it to the end, not because it is any less important but because the others were more relevant to everyone whereas this one is specific to people of faith…

Colossians 1.9 reads, ‘For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…’

in my experience relationships are never easy. or never always easy. some seem easier than others and usually when you are looking at someone else’s dating or marriage relationship, you are exposed to the public side of it and so it will usually look movie-like and if you have ever had a strong difference of opinion with the person you Love and are in relationship with, then you may quickly find at that moment that the genre shifts from romantic comedy somewhat.

and so for this reason [and others] it makes a lot of sense not to do relationships alone and i am thinking specifically of marriage here but to differing degrees it can be relevant to friendships and dating as well. the colossians verse above starts with the phrase “since we heard… we have not stopped praying” and so this last way to Love could perhaps as significantly be titled ‘be an active part of community’ [whether church or small group or strong group of friends or combinations thereof] because the knowledge that people are praying for you is a powerful thing.

when i got married [to the beautiful Val] it felt like God took relationships and marriage in particular and placed them heavily on my heart – the growing statistics of divorce [as equal among christians as non-christians apparently] break my heart in terms of the statement it makes loudly that ‘We don’t do relationships well!’ and i wanted [and want] to be used wherever i can be to speak life and hope and perseverance and longevity into them, and hopefully model healthy relationships too.

and i am hoping it will make my Taboo Topic list someday altho finding anyone brave enough to share might be tough but ‘People who struggle in marriage’ is a topic that is never spoken about [until suddenly a separation or divorce is announced and often hits a lot of friends and family by surprise as everything looked great on the outside] but is really real and my desire is for married people to find safe people that they can share their struggles with in a way that brings them and their person closer together and provides outside prayer and assistance.

but also within the relationship it is good to have it centered on God and people do that differently whether praying together or praying individually but for each other or combinations of both. one of the strongest times for our marriage has been lying in bed together late at night having God-filled conversation about life or people or situations we find ourselves in and as we talk those out, they become like prayers to God as well [as prayer is as simple as conversing with God] and so it is incredibly important to find those places and times to really invite God into the midst of your stuff.

i will finish off with the rest of the passage that initial verse comes from as i think it is a powerful piece to meditate on:

‘For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ [Colossians 1.9-14]

as i seek to bring the concept of praying without ceasing into my own marriage, may i also be reminded to constantly be praying for the relationships of those around me, that they will be built on the Love of God that always hopes, always protects, always perseveres.

to head back to the start of this series in case you missed any of them, go here.

Proverbs 13.12 says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ which is nice and everything so if you give someone your word then make sure you are true to it otherwise you will give someone a sick heart. is what i think the author of the Ten Ways to Love list [which remember is not me, i am just expounding on this list] was meaning with this point.

and it is on this point that i would disagree. because Matthew 5.33-37 reads, ‘“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’ which i think is a completely different thing.

i would suggest this is strongly linked to number 7 which was Trust without wavering. and i would say that the 9th way to Love would be more along the lines of ‘Speak and then hold to your word.’ Don’t promise at all.

i think back to when i was a child and someone would tell me something and you don’t really believe them and then they add ‘I promise’ and then you’re all like, ‘Oh, okay well, if you promised then you must be telling the truth.’ and then if they REALLY want you to believe them they will promise on their mom’s grave [um, your mom’s still alive?] or their grandmothers [right, Johnny Fairplay from Survivor]

that’s not Love though. love is telling it to me straight the first time. and every time. which tends to build a trust with someone that won’t waver. imagine a world where you could take for granted that someone’s “yes” was a “yes” and their “no was a no” and you didn’t have to guess motives or what the people-pleaser was really wanting to answer or who is being deceptive and who is not. that is a world where Love reigns supreme.

i cannot make anyone else do this [sadly!] but it can start with me. for most of my life i have refused to make promises to people. if i say it to you, you can trust that it is true. the onus is then on me to keep my word and to model for others how powerful this can be.

looking back to the title heading, the ‘without forgetting’ part is essential and that is something that can be worked on – if i give my word to someone then it is not good enough to go back later with an ‘oh sorry, i forgot’ because in essence that is the same as going back on a promise. if i know that i struggle to remember things [like i do] then i need to do whatever it takes [put it in my phone calender, make myself a note, write it on my hand] to make sure that i remember. it is all about honouring what i have said and building a deserved trust which becomes a demonstrated Love.

as i work hard at giving people a straight answer and then sticking to it, without forgetting, may it inspire those around me to build trust with me and to also move away from feeling the need to add “i promise” to their words to make them any more legitimate…

what are your thoughts and experiences on making promises and remembering things you have said you will do?

to read on to pray without ceasing, click here

1 Corinthians 13.7 says ‘It [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’

this Corinthians description of Love is a huge one and is one of the most quoted Christian passages at weddings and i really do love it – what stands out for me is that the Love described here is very different to what the world suggests in terms of feeling and passion and sex, but the Love mentioned here has largely to do with choice. the passage starts off with ‘Love is patient’ which is an easy one to critique because i seldom feel like being patient and Morgan Freedman’s God in Evan Almighty nails it when he is speaking to Evan’s wife Joan and says, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?”

and so that follows through the whole list, but for me this last phrase has always held special meaning for me – it feels like a really powerful description of the positive description of what Love is and can be and feels like it builds this growing momentum as it hits you with the force of ‘It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’

the word ‘always’ is the key thing – it doesn’t suggest that this is something Love might choose to do on occasion – it commands that this is the D.N.A. of true Love – that it will ALWAYS protect and ALWAYS trust, ALWAYS hope and ALWAYS persevere! This is a definitive statement.

and so focusing on the ‘Trust’ aspect, the idea of a lighthouse on the rocks surrounded by raging waters came immediately to mind because that captures the heart of the ‘without wavering’ aspect of Love. Trust feel like an easy thing to give someone but it is an incredibly difficult thing to regain once it is lost.

so it is really essential that it stays firm. you can’t half Trust someone. for Trust to be real and effective it really is a case of flinging yourself out completely [with no support harness] and believing that the other person has you.

it also needs to be demonstrated this way – if i am constantly questioning and second guessing and checking motives, then my words and actions can quickly deny the Trust i say i have in someone…

as i seek to be someone who Trusts without Wavering, may my words and actions always stand me firm as someone who is trustworthy and worth believing in, in a way that makes it easy for people to let go and jump towards me with full knowledge that i will not let them fall.

how have you found this aspect of Love playing out in life?

to look at forgiving without punishing, go here.

Philippians 2 verse 14 to 16 says, ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.’

this is an important one – a strong way in which i can show Love for someone is by serving them graciously! If my beautiful wife Val [tbV] asks me to do something for her and i sigh loudly and complain about it as i go about doing the task, then it really isn’t as if i have served her at all, because i may have done the job but i have made her feel bad or guilty about asking.

which i realised was something i was doing way too much of a while back and so i blogged this thort on when my yes sounds like a no and have really been making a effort to try and be more enthusiastic with my yes’es… [if the action is something i end up doing anyway, whether i particularly feel like it or not, then i have the choice of serving her and letting her feel loved or at the very least holding back from letting her feel victimised or unloved]

and so we arrive at ‘Enjoy without complaint’, altho i am not too sure how the person got from ‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing’ to ‘Enjoy without complaint’ unless maybe we continue reading – ‘so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’

ah, and it goes back to Loving someone really well. when i know that i have done something that now tbV doesn’t have to do or that helps her out or makes her feel good then that is something that brings me a lot of joy. and hopefully when i do it for anyone. i don’t think the blamelessness and purity is anything we specifically pursue directly, but i think it is more an exciting by product of Loving people around you well.

as i seek to be someone who Enjoys without complaining, may i enrich the lives of those around me and by my example encourage others to consider trying to do the same…

do you have any examples of this to share?

to look at trusting without wavering, continue here.

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