This morning, I remember the simplest of truths: I love others by faith. There’s a supernatural, unconditional, pure and deep love that God wants to produce in me for others (and myself). But I cannot conjure it from my own flesh. I cannot think or feel my way into loving folks that, for whatever reason, are difficult for me to love.
And God commands I love others–especially enemies, especially the unlovable–with that pure and deep love.
Impossible! Yes. In my own strength, it is impossible.
I pull a little booklet off of the dusty bookshelves. It’s How You Can Love by Faith, by Bill Bright. I flip through the pages, hungry for the truth there. He writes:
“God has an unending supply of His divine, supernatural, agape love for you. It is for you to claim, to grow on, to spread to others, and thus to reach hundreds and thousands with the love that counts, the love that will bring them to Jesus Christ. In order to experience and share this love, you must claim it by faith; that is, trust His promise that He will give you all that you need to do His will on the basis of His command and promise.”
Suddenly, I’m parenting my girls with the pure, deep love of God flowing through me. I’m overwhelmed with divine love for my husband, my neighbors, my students, myself.
When God gives a command in scripture, He gives the power to fulfill it. Living with flair means I enter, by faith, into that divine flow of agape love. I love the unlovable. I love the ones hardest to love. I love in a way that counts.
Journal: Bill Bright suggests I make a list of folks in my life that are hard to love. Then, I choose to love them by faith. I’m to ask the Holy Spirit “to fill [me] with Christ’s love for each of them”, then pray for them and think of ways to tangibly demonstrate love to them. Will I love by faith this week?
This entry moves me, particularly because I've struggled lately to love those who aggravate as unconditionally as those who are easy to love. I've prayed for God to fill me with a light that shines on everyone, not just on some. Thank you for this entry. Here's a quote that I recite daily from Blue Like Jazz:
“I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love, I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again.”
PS THAT QUOTE WAS BY DONALD MILLER. Ahhh English major not citing an author = sin
Ha ha! You said, Blue Like Jazz, so I knew 🙂 I love that quote. And YOU!!
Small, brilliant, powerful reminder. Thank you.
I have been reading your blog almost from the beginning. Your writing is powerful. Your use of the small things in life to point toward the ineffable reminds me of the definition of a sacrament: “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” This post in particular reminds me of St. Therese's Little Way. Thank you!
Heather, I was there when Bill learned this truth. It was during a very difficult time of conflict with some people. One morning he came into the office, obviously out from under the stress he had been exhibiting. He said, “God has shown me how to love by faith.”