Reduce me to love

While living in England, I worked in a tea-room for a short time before I returned to Canada. The shop was run by a Polish couple and one of my co-workers was Lithuanian. It was often a struggle to communicate with the Lithuanian girl, but we managed to learn, “The regulars want their Maple Walnut Cake”, or “I need a coffee”, or “How do we fit eight people at a table for five?”

Throughout the short time working together it was an eye-opener of what it must’ve been like to live in a post-communist country. Even though communism fell between 1989-91, the process of regaining freedom and learning new habits takes time.

Process. Don’t we just love that word? It insinuates time, growing pains, and a changing from one nature to a new one.

Over the past couple of months my small group has been reading Reduce Me To Love by Joyce Meyer. All of us have shared that not only is it challenging us, but it is making us more aware on a daily basis of how we live our lives. The book goes through how God IS love and how if we really have Jesus living in us, the transformative work of love should be taking place.

What does the Bible say about love and how we are to treat others? (1 Corinthians 13) For all of us, it’s like forming new habits after years of doing it under another regime – humanity!

The thing that has stuck with me lately is the question, “Am I really loving you if I only choose to show it when you act, behave, or do what I want or what is comfortable?” The resounding truth about love, whether in a friendship or marriage relationship, is that it is a choice. It’s not based on how I feel, but is a constant decision. Sometimes it requires confrontation, and sometimes it requires my wallet, and sometimes it requires my shoulder for a friend to cry on. Regardless, it will cost me something.

We talked about how true love is unconditional (something we can only aspire to by God’s grace!), and the book says:

We must realize that love is something we are to become; it is not something we do and then don’t do.
We cannot turn it on and off, depending on who we want to give it to and how they are treating us.

Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows and clearly proves his own love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” He took action before we ever chose Him.

As you embrace this Christmas season, I challenge you, along with myself, to be more conscious of our love walk. It’s a process God is constantly working in us because has set us free from an old regime of doing things our own way. All of the ladies in my small group would echo that it’s uncomfortable, yet it is bringing us closer to the way we were meant to live as believers in Jesus. That, to me, is worth the process.