Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Unselfish Love

Might I suffice you with a seemingly pleasurable conclusion that I have come to recently. I am not forming a final judgment just yet, I just feel that I’ve encountered a simple proposition that I would like to share with the “blogging” world. As if it might actually intrigue someone to the great extent that it has me- I suppose it’s worth a shot. I have encountered a profound yet simple little treasure of a truth that you all might find to be worth reading, oblivious perhaps to what I am about to share with you, I’m somewhat ignorant to the beauty in which the human heart has the capability of possessing.

This may sound cliché despite fact that I, myself have always understood that we are human, with blemish and at fault in some way or another. However, in our attempt to know and love God we rely on the love that we are familiar with and understand. Perhaps this love was absent while growing up, maybe it was only felt or shown when a deed was done and you felt you had to earn it. Maybe for you love was there from the beginning, you were never without it and it encompassed you every day and night reassuring you of how beautiful and wonderful you were. For some love was never there, it was distant or non existent. We all have a picture of love and we all react to love differently than others

I could sit here all day long and type an endless amount of impressive or whimsical words hoping to capture your attention in reading about this so called love, but I can’t fancy something up that is so beautifully simple. We’ve made it so utterly complicated and exhausted ourselves in the process. Love is not simply an act, it’s not solely a feeling, it’s not just affection, it’s not only devotion etc. It’s all of that and even MORE, it’s a crazy concoction of emotions, feelings, vows, deeds, gifts and even more. I can’t even find words for it. One of the most lovely definitions of love in my opinion is unselfish. Oh, how we screw that one up.

What is unselfish love? Let's see what does unselfish mean? It is the opposite of selfish, it is to oppose selfishness and I guess a better word would be “selfless”.

Selfish according to Webster is: to be concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

So unselfish is - to be concerned excessively or exclusively with OTHERS : seeking or concentrating on OTHERS advantages, pleasures, or well-being without regard for ONESELF.

I admit- I am a selfish human being, I am striving for success, I love my comfort zone, I am more apt to furnish myself with more for me as opposed to others. It’s so easy to get caught up in “me me me” that we neglect to be “others” oriented. How in the world do we make that turn? How do we go from being self-centered to God-centered and others-centered? It seems like there should be some formula and step by step instructions to follow. Do we have a seminar for that? (HA, I say that jokingly since we now have seminars on anything and everything nowadays…it’s insane! That’s another blog in itself!) I think that God looks down and He must humor us. We are all writing our own books on “How to do this” and “How to do that” and “Be this” and yadda yadda and we make difficult what he created to be so simple. Love is not a “how to” list, it’s something we ARE, it’s something we were created from. When you were born, did
you have to be taught how to eat? No, you knew because it was instinct. Love is instinct. The only thing we have learned and taught is how to hate and how to be selfish.

I guess what I’m getting at in this now rabbit trail of a blog (I always do that!) is that we are crazily complex creatures but God did not create us to be that way, I do not believe for one second that He did. Somewhere down the line we all got screwed in some way and we have a very tainted and imperfect picture of love. Let the love of the Father lavish you and break all of your preconceived ideas and notions that you have of Him and His love. You do not have to work for it or earn it. It’s just there waiting for you to realize it and accept it.

Find the beauty of true love. Dig deep and discover…

There is so much

Oh perfect love, embellish me
For in you may I be
Fully taken, fully clothed
In your beauty I am robed
Pure and sacred
Real and true
Oh love everlasting
May my heart delight in you
May your love enhance mine
Activate mine and heighten mine
Give me your love

Disclaimer- Do not get me wrong, love is not the only side of God's character, he has MANY attributes and qualities, He is holy righteous and just etc. However, in this season of my life He is allowing me to indulge into the depths of His love and learn to live in love and be in love. I do not think for one second that being a Christian is all daisies and roses. There are indefinitely going to be difficult, trying and breaking times. However, He never withholds His love and himself from us. I heard a profound message a long time ago entitled "Turning Lonliness into Aloneness". Often in those dark times He is crying out to be alone with you. We so easily get caught up in our human efforts to love and be loved that we forget His love and we neglect to be with Him. His love completes, increases and improves ours, it perfects our love.

Here are some prime examples of unselfish love given in the Bible...

"This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions, and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18

"God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us. So that we will have confidence on the day of judgement. Because in this world, we are like Him. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. Because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother."
1 John 4:16b-20

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3 17b-19

And of course the infamous chapter on love found in 1 Corinthians 13...

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Below is an old favorite hymn of mine...

Oh Love That Wilt Not Let me Go
By: George Matheson

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee,
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to thee,
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee,
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee,
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

If you really just read that whole thing, wow! I guess it was worth writing, if not then it still was not written in vain but simply from a heart full of desire to know, show and share.

May all of you dear and wonderful people have a truly beautiful day!

-Amber Denae


Mitzy said...

Amber ,
and so True!!

You need to write a book of poems!!
I will buy the first copy :-)

Andrea said...

And I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I feel as though I have a tainted view of God based on what I KNOW, FEEL, or THINK. I have to remind myself that I cannot define my Father. He is beyond all understanding and that brings me much comfort!

Sarah said...

Amber, I like the fact that you actually think about things instead of going with whatever society teaches. Keep it up!

Have you ever read "Desiring God," by John Piper? He talks quite a bit about selfish love and unselfish love, and totally redefines selfishness in general, and then busts all preconceived notions about our pursuit of God. It's an amazing book. You should buy (not borrow) a copy. =)

Haha... yes, I got your comment on that post from ages ago. I'm impressed that you would actually read that far back! =)