Today we held a training for the Lapid Leaders Council (LLC). LLC is the governing body that the graduates from the 3-month program transition to so as to enlist into our mission to raise an army of the next generation of African Leaders. Anywho, while we were praying after the LLC training, I felt God leading us strongly to this verse, 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3″If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
Down memory lane
Ouch. I have a long history with these verse. A couple of years ago I was reading the book, ‘Spirit Controlled Temperament’ by by Tim LaHaye. The book goes into great length to define the various personality types. As I read the book and did many other online tests, I figured out that my primary personality is what is termed as a ‘Melancholic’. The book went into great heights to define the strengths of a Melancholic person which gave me very many aha moments. It also goes into great heights to define the weaknesses of a Melancholy.
Melancholic people are gifted people who are also very creative (that must be why I can sing so well in my bathroom and nowhere else lest I damage people’s ears). On the other hand, Melancholic people are naturally very cynical. I still remember the book talking about how this trait from Melancholic people has wounded many people that they relate with. As I read the book and got convicted on my cynicism, I asked God to take away the cynicism and make me into a spirit controlled temperament.
Around that time, God kept leading me to 1 Corinthians 13, “if I speak in tongues and have no love, I am a noisy gong!’ Noisy gong! Yani kelele, that’s the word God you chose to use! So over time I decided I would not be a noisy gong. I prayed about it and I cannot even tell you when and where the cynicism went. It just went. That’s perhaps why a relationship with God is so personal, for me I have seen God do such things, transform a heart from the inside out. And I could write a lot more on the transformation, but that’s not the point of this blog.
The point is this story on love. Transformed and changed from a cynic to a person with a loving heart. However (yes there’s a however), in the recent past I have felt the cynicism creep back. Because I am in unfamiliar territories called Lapid Leaders, it has been much easier for me to revert to the cynical melancholy that I once prayed that God transforms me from.
And so today as I said that prayer for the LLC, I prayed for my own heart, that God would radiate His light in it.
But Love is Haaaard!
This prayer got me thinking about this whole story called Love. As I drove home, I wondered if I should take back that prayer.
Who wants to Love? Love is hard, yes hard! How do you love when people will many times use what you say against you? How many times have I seen someone share their weakness and very fast it has been used against them. How do you love such humans? How do you love when people can be very manipulative? How do you love when humans are brought up in different ways and heck it is just easier to hate some humans? How do you love, and lets not go to the definition of love. Okay lets, the same chapter goes to great heights to define love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
It was bad enough that God had asked us not to be noisy gongs, He goes ahead to define Love and the standards He sets for love are pretty high! As I look at this definition of love I can tick too many things that I am struggling with at the moment. How I am struggling to be kind to humans, how I am struggling with patience big time! How I can hold grudges at the blink of an eye! How I am always losing faith, how I am proud, and did I talk about the jealousy!
Is this even possible?
How do I become this person who obeys the second greatest command, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself”. How do I love when He even goes ahead to say how can you love your Father in Heaven if you cannot Love your neighbor who you see.
God then reminds me why we must love. He takes me back to blogs I wrote when I was going through this season before (check out one here)
And He tells me how do you love? And I scream yes please tell me. How do I not break my bones trying to love this unlovable humans (and yes I know I am also unlovable). How Lord do you manage to Love us despite our horribleness (if there is such a word).
And the answer comes in a small still voice, how do you love, you love because I Help you! Many people try to love people in their strength; they go to great heights to sweet talk themselves into loving others. They break their backs and sometimes they manage but there is an easier way. The Spirit of God teaches, helps, leads till Love becomes second nature.
Teach us to Love again
Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. You will know them by their fruits because when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, He bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
As I hear this powerful answer, my prayer is simple, ‘Teach me to Love again. Help me see me, help me see humans, help me see my neighbor as you see them. May fear never hold me from loving, unconditionally. So yes teach me to love again’.
Make that your prayer too. Are you struggling with us humans? Do you find that we disappoint too much its easier not to love us? Is it easier to prophesy than to love? I getcha, but to live for Christ is first and foremost to love. Like me, pray that the Lord teaches you to love again; then walk that walk with no one else but Him, He will lead you “a broken and contrite heart He does not despise!