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Are You A Target?

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photo via Pixabay

 

You can’t make me
If loving someone is easy to do, is it truly love? If love endures all trials, how old must I be or how long do I have to be in relationship with someone to genuinely love them? What conditions am I placing on the receiver?

I’m pleasured by my grandchildren when they run to the door to greet me, shouting, “Gwamma’s here! Gwamma’s here!” I feel loved. But any parent knows little ones are selfish. They’re expecting to get something from you. Conditional love.

Meanwhile, I demonstrate love when I change diapers, pull them in their giant wagon to the park in 90-degree weather, or bring correction when one steals a toy from the other. Sure, some of that is a joy to do. But I have options, such as laziness or impatience. No one can make me care for them from a genuinely satisfied heart. I have to choose genuine love. Otherwise I’m just floating in the passing pleasure.

Seasons
Since true love involves sacrifice, I can expect some discomfort, if not pain. My most memorable relationship challenge came in an unexpected package. Usually when you receive a package in the mail your heart jumps with excitement and curiosity. You’re not anticipating a bottle of poison or a bomb.

To show love in that relationship, I had to lay aside my opinions and honor the person’s position of authority. I had to intentionally choose to put their needs before my own — while deflecting their belittling remarks. Thank God it lasted only a season. But as I cried before the Lord in the Secret Place, He showed me how each season must run its full course. In His great mercy, He gives every person a chance to change their way of thinking (repent) and turn back to Him. After a while, the more I understood the greater purpose, the more I felt honored to be His chosen vessel in that relationship.

 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. Romans 11:25 NLT (emphasis mine)
I’m included in that full number.

Perspective
Love is not about what you and I want or need. It’s about the Bigger Picture—reconciliation with the Father. It’s why Jesus gave His utmost, an example of true love, a model of noble sacrifice. And He was hated. Yet He knew that just beyond the last hill of earthly suffering was an eternity of Heavenly Celebration with those reconciled.

Difficulties cause my love-roots to grow deeper, creating stability. It’s a constant push to be sincerely humble and patient with people. I’m sure you have experienced a few memorable “bombs.” If you chose to bleed love, you’ve got the scars as proof. To remain humble and persist at honoring hard-hearted people will never come easy. But when a bomb drops, knowing my eternal destination helps me keep the Bigger Picture at the forefront of my mind.

Think about it. God is Love, pure Love. He initiated it. Everything He created, He did out of Love. Any human act of genuine love is a reflection of Him. Therefore, as love-givers, we become a major target of the enemy who opposes reconciliation.

Until the full number comes to Christ, I’m considering the bull’s-eye on my chest a badge of honor. How about you?

 

Despite the “bomb” threat,
who will you choose
to genuinely love today?

 

The Love of an Embattled Spirit

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Are You A Target?”

  1. Ann Vande Zande says:

    Thanks for this wisdom. I don’t like being a target and all too often complain. Your perspective challenge is sound. I’m going to pray about wearing my badge of honor.

  2. J.A. Marx says:

    You won’t regret it, Ann. And we can never out love Jesus.
    Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

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