I’m still slowly working my way through James. This week James 2:8 really hit me. It’s the “royal law”–“Love your neighbor as yourself.” I spent some time asking myself how I love others, and meditating on how love is the debt we owe to each other (Romans 13:8). I’m woefully inadequate at loving, which is as it should be. We’re not supposed to be able to love by ourselves. The Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8), not “humans are love.” We love because He first loved us. We don’t muster up love.
So as I was meditating on how God’s law is a reflection of His character, I realized that a failure to love is a failure to be rooted and grounded in God’s love…it’s a failure to comprehend who He is and how He loves me. I so often focus on the process of mustering up love, or the execution of kindness, rather than meditating on God’s character and how His character plays out in my own life. How does God love me?
Obviously, we can start with the Gospel and how God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). After allowing that to sink into my marrow (and being once again overwhelmed by God’s grace), I spent some time asking God to open my eyes to the ways He shouts His love every day. Some of the things I noticed: Opening my eyes to see beauty in nature. The love that my husband lavishes on me. The precious hugs that my daughters give me. Providing a house to live in that I love. Giving me parking spots, and delicious food, and music, and all the things in my life that make it sparkle. Not coddling me against change–allowing painful things in my life to provide me with an opportunity for change. Speaking to me through His Word, every day. Opening my heart to sense His presence. Really, once I started paying attention, I discovered that His love is impossible to miss.
And that’s where I can start loving others–from a place of fullness and groundedness. Not giving kindness in hopes of filling some longing for love in my heart. Not out of some pharisaical, forced attempt at love. But from being rooted and grounded in God’s love.
Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.