What have you done in the name of love? Stayed up all night nursing a sick child – over and over again? Given months, years of your life as caregiver to a sick parent or spouse? Stuck by someone as they struggled with a mental illness or an addiction? Defied conventional wisdom and married someone others thought would not be good for you?
It’s not that every one of these actions is by itself always good or wise: it’s that we do them! Love has gotten a cheap reputation because of its inglorious imitators such as Lust, Greed, Control, and Dependency. But love is still the most powerful thing ever granted by God to us human beings. It makes us risk things we would never risk for any other reason, find energy we didn’t think we had, and go beyond ourselves over and over again.
And that makes it gloriously dangerous.
What picture comes to mind when you think of “love?”
- A mother tenderly nurturing her baby?
- A young man on one knee asking his sweetheart for her hand?
- Feelings of well-being while in your loved one’s embrace?
- Jesus holding out His hand, saying “I forgive you?”
Yes, those images do depict much about love. But there’s something relatively superficial about all that.
Instead, picture the classic fairy tale where the fair maiden is held captive by someone or something evil. The dashing young suitor must wage war with dragons or demons or hell itself to rescue her – all in the name of love.
The picture of love that resonates most within us is also a picture of war! Tweet that.
You may not have ever felt that someone loved you enough to fight for you. But part of you knows this aspect of love. A loving parent would fight against anyone who would want to harm their child. A loving friend would be willing to risk harm to help the one they cared about. A loving husband would shoulder the weight of the world to provide for and protect his wife and family.
What did “love” mean to God? He saw the object of His love – you – in trouble. He saw you broken, sick, and alienated in your messed up, sinful world, held captive by His enemy and doomed. But He didn’t just look on in pity; He took action. He came from heaven in the person of Jesus, and fought hell itself to rescue you and win your heart.
And then He works His wonderful “magic” in you to change you into the glorious person He created you to be, and to create a truly “happily ever after” future for you. He’s gone to war for you against His enemy (and yours), and He has won.
It’s a picture of love, and war.
But what about you? What are YOU doing in the name of love? Is there anyone or anything that you care about enough to DO something about? What is putting the object(s) of your love in danger? What are you doing about it?
Such action starts first at home. If you’re married, remember that your spouse is not your enemy. But there ARE things that are putting your spouse is danger. That could be anxiety, fear, overwork, other people’s opinions, negative self-talk, etc. How are you helping support your spouse in overcoming those dangers?
If you’re a parent, you may understand this aspect of parental love quite well. The culture at large, well-meaning friends, and God’s enemy all have plans for your children. Part of your job as a parent is to wage war against these dangers, and then to help your children develop their own strength to stand against them on their own.
And then there’s the larger picture. Beyond your family, what has God asked you to do? How can you know? What are you supposed to be doing in this life?
Here’s the question that may help answer that quest better than any other:
What breaks your heart? Whose pain do you cry over? Whose joy do you celebrate? Tweet that.
When you recognize whose pain you feel, you know the problem God put you on this earth to help fix. Your own heartbreak is likely to be the very thing that God uses to bring healing and blessings to others.
Perhaps your heart is broken by those affected by domestic violence, addiction, mental illness, poverty, hunger, gambling, pornography, or human trafficking. Perhaps it’s lonely seniors, sick children, returning military personnel, or those fighting a particular illness. It may be in your own neighborhood or on the other side of the globe. If your heart ever breaks, then you know who God wants you to help. You know the problem He built you to go to war against.
If there’s any love in your heart, it demands action. Tweet that.
And as far as your love for God, that demands action too. Jesus said so. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”(John 14:15) Loving God means doing what He says, letting Him change you, and working to accomplish the mission He sends you to do.
Why not let your love stir your heart enough to go to war. Make sure you remember that the one(s) you love are not the enemy. You’re fighting against who or what is putting them in danger.
So think about it. What breaks your heart?
Now what are you going to do about it?
Your Turn: What example or picture of love means the most to you? Why? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Sometimes love has to go to war. It’s the action that counts. Tweet that.
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