PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
READ: John 13: 34-35
"Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better." (I John 4:7, The Living Bible)
I must admit I am a duffer golfer and seem unable to lower my handicap; in fact the harder I try, the worse my scores become! However, I have discovered that my 'better' games occur when I just relax and 'let it happen'. I have also found that when I take time to practice golf skills - mainly chipping and putting - my game improves!
I wonder if this is also true in demonstrating love. Everyone believes that love is important and no other issue is stressed more in Jesus' messages than love! Love is usually thought of as a feeling, however, in reality, love is a choice and an action as shown in I Corinthians 13:4-7. Further, although I mentally agree with the importance of love, I often find it difficult to put it into actual practice! I, along with most Christians, accept that God is the source of love but how does one clearly demonstrate it in our dealings with our fellow man?
One day while I was randomly reading through my Bible I came across the verse from I John 4:7 cited above. The word, practice, 'jumped out" at me like it was a communiqué from on high! It occurred to me that our first task might be to discover and develop actions and/or methods by which we demonstrate our love to one another. We all vary in how we do this but we need to discern those in which each of us feels most natural and comfortable in expressing our love. The two methods that I commonly use are through the writing of notes and the use of touch. Might it be necessary for me to learn others?
Firstly, however, it is essential to recognize that the Holy Spirit gives us the capacity to love and the desire to reach out. But we must ask Him to guide us to not only see opportunities to express it but to aid us in the selection of the proper method for doing so. Our prayer might consist of a direct request: "How can I best show my love for?" I have found that He will guide IF we request that He do so. The next step is, of course, is to practice it! It is essential to recognize that in order for our expression of love and/or concern to be genuine, it must be given without an expectation of thanks or return. Succinctly put, 'We love because He first loved us'.