The action is the change. We can be ready all we want. We can have all we need set. But if we don’t go – if we don’t put it all into action – it is worthless. I can read recipes all day long, buy the ingredients, and still not have a cake until I actually cook the recipe. I can buy running shoes, read a running magazine, and get dressed to go run. But if I don’t actually get out and run, it means nothing. The results come from the actions. Preparation is good and necessary. But in the end, preparation is useless without action. And so it is with love.
How many times do we need to read the words of Jesus before we actually live the words of Jesus? I’m not talking about a daily reading to refresh our minds and renew our spirits. I am talking about implementing what we are actually taught. Jesus teaches so many important lessons he meant for us to follow, not just read. I have always heard it was an instruction book for life. But most of us use it like we use other instruction books. We get just enough out of it to do the minimum but never actually read the instructions with the intent of following it all. It is more like a suggestion book to way too many of us.
Jesus taught over and over and over again that the primary way to live was to love God and to love others. Knowing that we would want to turn it into what we wanted it to be, Jesus then lived out what he taught. He didn’t just leave it hanging there. It wasn’t a teaching we were to figure out as we go. He gave clear instructions and then a complete 3 year demonstration. And yet, here we are. We can still find ourselves better at judgment than love. We can still focus more on exclusion than love. We can still be in a place of hatred, bullying and anger rather than love. In other words, we are fine reading the words, but we aren’t actually planning on putting them into action. Yet, this isn’t the intention.
When Jesus said that we were to love God and to love others, he meant it. And when Paul wrote to the messed up church in Corinth about how they cannot live without love, he meant it. And it is still the lesson. And it is still our greatest command. And it is still how we are called to live. The question becomes…will we actually live what we are taught or just sit around hitting others over the head with the instruction manual?
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
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