Have you been on social media much lately? No? Me neither. I don’t like feeling like I’m being pelted from a bunch of different directions.
But, while checking up on people the other day, I was curious about the stream of casual conversations and links about “getting along with others”.
Things like: 5 Rules for getting along with anyone. 11 surprising tricks to help you get along with other people. 3 ways to get along with your fellow employees. The secret to getting along with difficult people.
The one that made me chuckle though, was “Before you can get along with others you must learn to get along with yourself”. I think there might be a problem.
I must admit, I haven’t thought about the topic of getting along with others since I taught 3-year-olds in preschool and we had to have “the talk” almost every day. You know, the talk about sharing toys and using good manners and taking turns. Getting along with others.
As usual, a seemingly insignificant topic can send my mind down a myriad of winding roads. Thankfully, the road that is most comfortable for me to travel on is the one that leads to what God says.
I looked up the Love Chapter in the Bible – 1 Corinthians 13 – figuring that love is a good place to start when you want to get along. 1 Corinthians 13 is basically a refresher course on love. The kind of love that helps people get along with each other. A Divine Love.
I started taking notes. Pages of notes. Why did this familiar chapter in the Bible suddenly seem like brand new stuff that I was hearing for the first time? I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with God’s Word being alive and active and sharp. It does things no other collection of words can do.
After days of reading and re-reading the chapter and some notes that went along with it, I sat back and realized something. This is BIG. We need this. We all need this. The whole world needs this.
Every human being needs God’s Divine Love to infiltrate their whole being. Divine Love – not the “love” that we’re used to talking about.
Yes, I know that Divine Love is what the whole Bible is about. I know that is why Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for the sins we couldn’t pay for. That’s why we all need to have a life-changing, personal relationship with Jesus.
The impact of this divine love, that we only get from Jesus, is bigger than anything. Bigger than any positive words or vibes. Bigger than any random acts of kindness. It’s way bigger than evil and hate and selfishness.
Let’s take a look at what our own efforts to love gets us.
Verses 1-3 of 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Here is what it means in a nutshell:
You might think that I seem like a wonderful person. After all, I can pray out loud and sing in the choir and quote scripture. But if my motives are really to impress others I might as well be banging on a piano with boxing gloves.
You might think of me as a person who can tell you all the things about God and knows all about God and believes everything about God and even shares my faith in God. But if I don’t have a love for others from God, I have no purpose. I’m useless.
If I regularly give to the poor and sacrifice for others – even dying for the cause – but I don’t love as God loves, then I am gaining nothing. In fact, I am just taking up space in this big old Earth – throwing money, time, and effort at something that is just good intentions – but not Divine Love.
I know!! This is deep stuff! I told you!
I can’t live up to that love expectation. I just can’t. It has been my goal, every time I interact with people, to be the nicest person they have met that day. But is that love? Is that Divine Love? If it’s in my own power, I don’t think it is Divine Love. It’s my inferior substitute.
So how do we get real Divine Love? We don’t earn it or buy it or deserve it. We are given this love when we begin a personal relationship with Christ. When we have a thriving relationship with Christ and we are walking with Him every day, then that Divine Love flows through us.
We are not the source – He is. We are the conduit. Think of a water hose with fresh, clean water running out of it that refreshes you on a hot day. The hose doesn’t create the water. It gets the water from the source. The hose gets to deliver the refreshing water that makes a difference.
Whew, I’m exhausted. I think this is enough for one blog post. Will you think this over and study the first few verses in 1 Corinthians 13? Will you pray that God will show you, as He starting to show me, what Divine Love looks like? Let’s dive deeper into this together so we can really grasp this.
Let me pray for us:
Lord, you are the author and creator of Divine Love. We can’t grasp how much you love us even though you have shown us your love over and over again. Grow us, Lord. Create a desire in us to want to know you more, to want to live as conduits of your Divine Love. Help us to realize when we are relying on our own effort and need to repent. We look, with anticipation, to see how you are going to change us through studying your Word. Amen