Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't forget to love.

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving! In my family, the Christmas season officially started today.  We don't decorate for Christmas, listen to Christmas music, or watch Christmas movies until Thanksgiving is over.

Thanksgiving and Christmas is a great reminder for us to stop and appreciate our blessings. And I think one of the reasons this time of year has such a great spirit about it is because we are all reflecting on the good in our lives and it makes us want to bless others. As Christ followers, hopefully this time of year has a great signficance to us.  I know that when I take the time to recognize my blessings and celebrate Christ's birth, it makes me want to give back to others.
1 Chronicles 16:8

     “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”

But there is not just one time a year that we should celebrate what we have been given. Each day we should take the time to remember what we have been given through Christ.  Then we should take that love we have been given and pass it on to others.  It is so easy to forget to love others.  Let's count our blessings each day until we are overflowing with gratefulness and love.  If we're overflowing, it can't help but spill out and touch others, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Love an Art?

Philippians 1: 9-10 (The Message):
     So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well.  Learn to love appropriately.  You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.  Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of.

I'm reading a book called The Art of Loving, by Erich Fromm.  It's a book that one of my professors recommended in class that I'm just now getting around to reading. Fromm makes some interesting points about society's view of love. He states that though we are usually seek love everywhere (endless movies about love- AKA "chick flicks," romantic novels, dating websites, sappy love songs, etc.), hardly anyone thinks that there is anything that needs to be learned about love.

He said we have that belief for three reasons:
  1. We assume that love is an object (or a thing) and not an ability.
  2. We confuse the initial experience of "falling" in love, and the permanent state of "being" in love.
  3. We worry more about being loved than showing love.
This sort of ties in with one of my previous posts, "Love is a Choice."  I think we forget that a lot. Fromm makes this statement: "There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love."

Obviously, the love here is not the love that we are capable of.  But all too often, we get ourselves into trouble by thinking that love is something that does not require learning and by worrying more about whether or not we are receiving the love that we want.
When I read this verse that Paul wrote, I started thinking about what he meant by "learn to love appropriately" and "sincere and intelligent love."

My idea of appropriate, sincere, and intelligent love is this:
We prepare and practice for times we can show love. We learn what real love is, and train ourselves to exhibit it.

My question to you:
How can we love appropriately, sincerely, and intelligently?