A Better Love

A Better Love

It was somewhere around 1993ish. It was a Sunday morning. I was in the teen room at the Emporia Avenue Church of Christ. I would like to say I remember what the lesson was about. I do not. Probably the Bible or Jesus or something. But my brain cells were not focused on that. Don’t blame me. While I was absolutely paying attention, I was not paying attention to my Bible. When I tell you what happened next, you will surely understand.

The classroom door opened. (In my memory, everything slows down to super-slow-mo here. The song “There she goes” by The La’s is now playing in the background. Everything in the room goes blurry.)  And in walks Christy Smith. Hair flowing. (Bring up the music in your head to full volume now). She does a little hair toss thing and because my mind is running this flashback at 10,000 fps, it takes a good 15 minutes. In any case, I was gone—completely smitten.

I am sure Christy felt exactly the same way about me that day. Me sitting there. Young. Tan. Muscles rippling. But, she’s not writing the article so just take my word for it.

Remember that young, dumb, and in-love feeling? Well, the young and dumb is right. But despite what any chick flick might tell you, that moment was NOT love. A rush of dopamine. Maybe. A surge of hormones. Perhaps. But, love?  Nope.

Love in our culture is ambiguous. I love Christy, but it is not the same as loving Chick-fil-A. (It’s close though!) True love, like anything good, takes time. Why? Because God’s love is more than a feeling. Feelings come and go. And if you trust them, you’ll be easily deceived. No, love by God’s definition is a choice to continually make unselfish choices.

Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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 perseveres. Love never fails.”

It’s taken me 21 years to learn to love like that—and I’m still learning. Our love has matured through many things. And even though young love is exciting and great, it is not nearly as meaningful as that love which has stood the test of time, trials, and life. It is only through that process that love grows.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” May we at Northside be committed to growing in our love. Not the temporary kind. But the better, more lasting kind. The kind that Jesus showed us. The love that denies self, that never gives up on the lost, patiently loves each other, and that, above all, loves the Lord with all we have.