This was my devotional this morning from Colin Smith. He has a free podcast on iTunes which I really like to listen to. He almost always addresses life’s challenges as a Christian. Hope this one speaks to you as much as it did me.
Look in the Mirror
by Colin Smith
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
The one thing that most of us like to say about ourselves is that we are loving. You hear this all the time: “I may not be religious, but I am a very loving person. I am a very caring person.”
I Corinthians 13 bursts that bubble. It lays out what genuine love looks like. When you see what true love is all about, you will feel that you have a long way to go. That’s why we’ve been describing this passage as “Love: A Beginners Guide,” because when it comes to reflecting God’s love, we are all beginners.
I want to challenge you to examine yourself carefully in the light of this Scripture. Look at your life and ask yourself honestly:
1. Who in your life right now do you most need to be patient with?
2. Where do you need to be more generous?
3. Which of your friends are you most likely to envy?
4. Who in your life right now do you need to listen to better?
5. How can you be more courteous?
6. Where have you been showing a bad temper or a sour spirit, or self pity?
7. Is there somebody whose difficulties have caused you pleasure?
8. What good thing in another person’s life has brought me joy this last week?
Be vigorous in this examination. God’s word is a mirror given so that you can see what needs to change in your life. Don’t let yourself off the hook!
Strengthen your faith
What will you do when you see that the love described in I Corinthians 13 is what God wants your life to look like? God doesn’t say to us: “This is what you have to measure up to, so you’d better get your act together and raise your game.”
The message of the Bible isn’t law, its gospel. The Gospel tells us that when you come to faith in Jesus Christ “God pours out his love into your heart by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:8). If God pours out His love into your heart, then this is the kind of person you can become.
You can come to Him and ask him to increase these things in you: “Lord, increase my patience. Make me more generous. Show me how I can give and where I should give it. Help me to restrain my anger. Help me to stop being so negative. Give me joy in what is good.”
When you ask these things you can be certain that what you are asking is in the will of God for you. Paul prayed for Christian believers that they would be “rooted and grounded in love…” that their love would “abound more and more” (Ephesians 3:17).
Every day as you go into the world, you are giving out-your patience is tried, your kindness is taken for granted, your anger is provoked, and your memory of past wounds is stirred. Your love is drained. Your heart becomes like a fuel tank that is running low. Thank God there is place that you can be filled. Come and ask. Come with faith. Come and receive.
That’s this week’s LifeKey.
Colin S. Smith