Love is not perfect, but perfected over time

I have no idea what will flow from my heart today. This I know is that love commits to love. I have had such a hard 2 weeks in every sphere of my life. I have had to face my weakness to love the Lord, my weak ability to receive his love for me and my failure to trust that someday I will commit to the place of loving well. More that this I am more aware of my ability to want to be ‘perfect’ in love. In my mind I am not loving well when I don’t get it right the first time…or the second. Constantly chasing after perfection…I have to do this to get this…I have to love this way in order for the Lord to love me back…right?

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‘Love is not love which alters when alteration finds’ – William Shakespeare

How deeply wrong my thinking is. I have come to see this theme unfold over and over in my life. This week hitting rock bottom I am broken and shattered to find the chards of my definition of loving well. While my love lies there in splintered pieces of pride and stubborn resolve, the Lord comforts me with the truth: ‘God is love’.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:8-1)

I have no disillusionment about the wrestle to pursue loving the Lord well…yet I am more aware of the ability to fail in safety. Knowing that the Lord knows my resolve to ‘want’ to love well is enough to help me get up…collect the pieces of self and keep going.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3)

There is a security given to me by Jesus. I can come boldly and unashamed when I stumble and fall, knowing the Lord is faithful to help me walk in the fullness of perfect love. As I wage war upon my own frame, I am able to find freedom from shame and condemnation:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2)

No one says it better than A.W Tozer:

The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.

Boom….drop the mic…walk off the stage.

When I fall and want to run and hide I need to bring myself before the burning flame of love. I need to face my weakness and know that love sees not the external appearances of my failure…but it looks deeper into my spirit and sees the potential to love perfectly. The Lord will perfect love because he is able to…it will take time and hard work…but I will get there. I refuse to succumb to shame and guilt…I will run into the arms of my Father who knows me…he knows how badly I want to love him the way he deserves. I am weak in love and I will be for a long long time…in these moments I am deeply grateful for the cross and the gift of Jesus. If anything, I am learning that there is no such thing as perfect love…a part from the Lord. Yet the hope for love to be perfected lies in these verses:

…and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure (1 John 3:2-3)

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified (Isaiah 61:1-3)

This is the Lord’s heart over Israel, yet I see glimpses of his nature in these words for myself and I deeply cling to these truths:

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God (Isaiah 62:1-3)

This will be my prayer for as long as I live:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21)

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