Love Gives Us Strength
We are God’s servants and his love gives us strength.
They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
Nehemiah 1:10 ESV
We move a lot. We, meaning you and I, are constantly on the move. Since 2012 I have lived in six different houses. One of the things I dislike about moving is the actual moving. Why? Because stuff is heavy while I am weak. I keep telling myself I need to change that. But, so far, I only think about gaining strength when I need it and not too much in the in-between time. So, there’s that. Kind of like love and the strength gained and given by it. I don’t notice the deficits until they overwhelm me and my lack of strength glares back at me.
With that in mind, let’s continue our time in the “love chapter.”
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:7 ESV
Wow! I need some of this here kind of love.
This love is active and in pursuit of the things of God and the people of God. This love has strength strong enough to hold Christ to the Cross.
…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
Whenever I regard strength I think in terms of execution. I need to tote this or lift that. But, the Word of God displays the strength of love in terms of limitations in how we treat others. The love of the Bible is all about others and how we can bless them with our strength to withhold what should happen next. Such as, “love bears all things” notice the word, all? Meaning there are no gaps in the love granted.
A quick funny to illustrate the word, all. A few years back we took a family vacation cruise to celebrate a college graduation for Duffling #2 and the marriage of Duffling #1. Our first night of fancy dining, my boy Dufflings were not that excited about it, they wanted to live in the buffet line. Once we were all seated and perusing the menu, I could see the struggle was real in regard to choosing food. I decided to let them in on a secret, even sit-down meals are all you can eat. That’s when things got weird. The boys each ordered it all. And by all I mean every side of the menu, they took it all. I’m pretty sure if we take another cruise and they see more than two Duffs registered they will buy extra cows. Because those boys ate the whole menu every night, to include the dessert menu. By the third night, our waiter just brought food in a steady stream. Yep, it was weird.
Love Bears All Things
So, think of your life as a menu and it’s all you can eat. Bearing all the things takes strength. Strength to hold your tongue and submit your heart to a gracious God when your flesh would rather lash out. Limitations of your own will when all the things line up against you and you choose love over anger. How does that even work? Love is the fuel that allows us to bear all things. What I love about the Word of God is that it builds. It’s stacked and compounded in every way.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV
Love Strengthens Faith
When our love bears all things, it leads us into believing all things and increases our faith. Increasing our faith will give us great hope and we begin to regard eternity as real and we are able to endure all things because we understand this is not our final stop. Our eyes become fixed on Jesus and he strengthens our love.
For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking,“Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God strengthen my hands.
Nehemiah 6:9 ESV
Nehemiah is struggling to rebuild the gates. People who would like to do him hard chased him day and night. They wanted to take him all the way out, but they could not persuade Nehemiah to give up; he kept building the gates. He didn’t do it in his own strength and I love his prayer, “But now…” The love of Christ strengthens our hands to do the work of Christ and our feet to follow where he leads.
Strength to Build the Kingdom
Are you building the gates in your home, community, your job? We are called, as believers, to kingdom building every single day to our lives.
About 17 years ago I went on my first missions trip to Moscow, Russia and so many amazing things happened there. So many God moments forever changed the way I see the Gospel in the lives of those who are so different than I am. But, one singular moment sticks out–the first time a sweet old Russian lady had ever seen a black person. I honestly thought she was gonna pass out. Her face spoke volumes to me, “I can’t believe what I am seeing,” seemed to just pour out of her eyes as she looked at me.
I don’t know about you, but I anticipate that will be my reaction when I see Jesus face to face, “I can’t believe what I am seeing!” (I NO way am I comparing myself to Jesus, just illustrating a response.) We can have that moment every day when we lend ourselves to seeking and seeing God do marvelous things in our everyday lives. Meet me back here once more as we wrap up our exploration of the “love chapter.”