Monday, April 4, 2011

Sermon Smackdown: Love

I feel like I write a lot about love. I wrote about it here. And here. And that's OK because love is important.

But—jeepers. Sunday's sermon smacked me upside the head and asked the question: "Rachel, do you really love?"

We all know those love verses. You probably had them read at your wedding. Or maybe you've heard them at someone else's wedding. You can probably find it in your Bible with your eyes closed. But just in case you're not familiar, read them again:

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. (I Corinthians 13:4-6)

We know it, right? Right.

So what my pastor did on Sunday morning was ask us to read it aloud. However, instead of saying "love" or "it," insert your name. You do it:

_______ is patient, _______ is kind. _______ does not envy, _______ does not boast, _______ is not proud. _______ is not rude, _______ is not self-seeking, _______ is not easily angered, _______ keeps no record of wrongs. _______ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (I Corinthians 13:4-6)

How does that feel? I kind of felt like a liar. Even from the beginning when I said, "Rachel is patient, Rachel is kind," I didn't believe it. I haven't been patient lately. I'm kind when I feel like it. It just went downhill from there. I can do all those things, but I don't do them consistently. It's kind of Fruits-of-the-Spirity. I'm clearly hit and miss with those, too.

Am I really exemplifying love? Are you really exemplifying love?

How can we get better at this? I know it requires a lot of help from God, who is love and shows it better than any of us ever could. But what can we do to up our game? To not be embarrassed as we read and reread that passage?

I love sermon smackdowns. In that I-don't-really-like-this-but-it's-good-for-me kind of way.

12 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you, Rachel. Ever since Gary had us do that, I've heard a voice in my head saying, "Jenny is patient. Jenny is not easily angered." Those were my two biggies. It really has made a difference in my attitude, even when I was trying to get both kids settled down to sleep at 10:30 last night!! :)

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  2. I have so much to work on! (Thankfully with God's help.)

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  3. Even though I was gone from the Creek on Sunday, I got to hear a similar sermon preached. God uses different people to proclaim what we need to hear. I, too, have been a little impatient and angry. It doesn't bring God glory and it weakens my witness. Guess that's why we need smackdowns every now and then. Thanks for your honesty!

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  4. I'm always appreciative when my veil of ego is lifted from my eyes like that. I am blessed that God doesn't expect me to be perfect as He once made us but that he is patient with me. As long as I remain aware and seek progress in His Word then I figure I'm good.
    Thanks for the reminder sista

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  5. WOW!! Awesome smack down! I have a lot to work on. What a wake up call...
    Thank you!

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  6. Good stuff. Well, back to the drawing board. I have more to work on....lol!

    Dennis

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  7. Yeah, that's a convicting message. Pretty much any time you put your name as the one doing what Scripture says, it's a smackdown. And a reminder of His amazing grace! Whew.

    On another note.... I love what you're doing here, and I gave you an award. Check it out on my site! http://livingpower.blogspot.com

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  8. I think I like the idea of choosing just one or two and using them as a mantra. "Peace" has been my one word mantra since the beginning of the year so I guess any of them would fit for me inside that goal to always find peace in every circumstance.

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  9. Oh girl, I've got a long way to go. But it's my goal, and I won't give up or give in until I love like these verses express it. Though my efforts are feeble, His grace picks up the slack. And I'm continually amazed.

    So keep writing about love. I, for one, need to hear it!

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  10. I definitely think that is something I strive for and work on daily. The work to be Christ like never ends.

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  11. Oh, yes. Reading those verses, I do feel awful and unworthy. But, I am unworthy. That's why grace is grace. When I see how much I fail, I realize yet again how much I need Him.

    One thing I do when I realize how terribly I'm exemplifying His love is stop and pray. I pray for Him to shine through me rather than me just being me.

    Thanks for your always honest thoughts, Rachel.

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  12. Oh my, this is really something.I've never looked at the love verses like this. I've tended to avoid them along with Proverbs 31!

    I like how you write; you make "I-don't-really-like-this-but-it's-good-for-me" truths palatable and even applicable. I'm putting my name in the blanks and somehow this portion of scripture doesn't seem so removed from my reality anymore.I feel like I might actually manage to achieve some of it. lol!!!
    Thank you indeed for sharing.Blessings to you.

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