img_5024Two words. It should be simple, right?

Love well. Now, go and do it!

A friend presented me with this beautifully framed gift. With it she gifted me her words; you do this well. Gifts like these keep me humble. I don’t always do this well. And to be completely see-through, God is continually showing me where I fail to love well. Impatience. Self-righteousness. Needing to be heard or understood. Did she see some of this too? I believe she has seen glimpses for sure, yet she still values the relationship. And my heart says thank you.

Maybe you’re like me and want to stay in the classroom of learning to love well. If so, listen in to where my thoughts have taken me today.

See, if we are learning to love well, we are probably not even aware of it. To say I love well is itself an arrogant comment. To say I long to love well more accurately casts a humble note over both my posture and my words. It’s impossible for me to accomplish such a task without complete dependency upon and daily surrender to God. He alone enables me to carry out any good thing.

One of my favorite scriptures instructs me on the HOW.

Years ago Jen and I sat across the table from one another contemplating what God was teaching us. I remember so clearly the words she directed me to read. She wanted to learn to love well. These verses were tugging at her heart. She asked me to pray with her that might be able to love this way. The scripture admonishes us to turn from loving in a way that seems natural to us, to a deeply centered, intentional love.

We turned the pages until she showed me, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.” {Romans 12:9-10} NLT

My favorite version speaks even more pointedly, Love deeply from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. {Romans 12:9-10} MSG

A few other versions speak it this way:

Love for others must be sincere {NIV}

Love must be without hypocrisy {HCSB}

Let love be Genuine {ESV}

We tend to think loving well is something that if we try hard enough we will be able to accomplish. We are off the mark. If we are loving well in the truest sense of the phrase, most of the time it’s because we’ve done some hard work of getting ourselves out of the way.

If I say I trust in Jesus, then I am told He lives at the center of who I am. The love I have for others needs to come from the very core of who I am in Christ. For me, this only happens when I trust in His love more than I trust in myself. Jesus literally laid down His life for me. It’s the ultimate of loving me from the core of who He is.

Oh that I might really believe in my every day hours that He loves through me as I lay my life down for others. My dying moments come every day. My self screams for the attention it wants and I have to tell it the truth over and over.

Before I knew Christ, to love well meant worrying about every move I made relationally. My confidence came only from people’s response to me. God would not let it remain that way. He wanted to break old sinful habits in me in order to build new healthy life-giving habits in me. The Builder…He is still at work in me today.

Oh, Lord, how i desire to love this way. Genuine. Honoring others.

I can love you most deeply, only as I draw from the part of me that is sincere, genuine & without hypocrisy. Yet, I wake every single day with a propensity to live in complete opposition to these character traits.

Loving well according to the scriptures isn’t really about me. It’s about you. True hospitality is all about meeting needs of others. Not just those who reciprocate our love, but those who persecute us, those who don’t care for us, or maybe even those who rub us wrong.

Precious One,

Will you join me in continuing to look to these scriptures to equip us to love well? If you leave me a message to pray for you as we learn to love well together – – – I’ll stop and breathe a prayer over you.