The Labor of Love
All of us have heard it said: "I am ready for love; I am ready for a relationship; I want intimacy; I just want to be held," and so on. We often say it ourselves without really understanding what our statement entails. I think sometimes we want these things because they feel good without thinking about what they represent.
I believe that love, intimacy, relationship and affection are all a part of God; we get tired of not getting what we want because we are engaging in these things and in relationships without Christ at the heart or center of them. At times, we become exhausted and want to give up on life because we desire a relationship we haven't yet received. We put forth all this effort without the insight, wisdom and knowledge of the One who is love--God.
Sometimes we work so hard creating or growing something that is not honest and that lacks substance to produce wholesome fruit.
Do we really understand what being in a relationship is all about? How can we know unless we have labored in love? Are we willing to see a love relationship through?
In thinking about this, I had to ask myself, What does it mean to labor? It means physical or mental exertion, especially when the task is difficult or exhausting. Have you worked, toiled, strived painstakingly, and proceeded with great effort?
An intimate relationship produces the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness," (Galatians 5:22 New Living Translation).
All of these things are a part of what it means to be in an intimate relationship. These are just a small part of what it means to worship God and to be in an intimate relationship with Him.
So then we have to go back and ask ourselves again: "Do I really want to be in an intimate relationship?" "Am I really ready to labor in love?" "Do I really desire to be held?" If we are willing to do these things without God, then we are reaching toward a feeling instead of toward reality. We can get hurt to the core if we are operating this way.
We are depriving ourselves of an authentic relationship with a counterfeit version of love. Anything that offers us a way better than Christ--who is love--is deceptive.
"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love," (1 John 4:7-8 New Living Translation).
We waste a lot of time dissecting, disassembling, pulling apart and researching any and everything but God. We do not always take the time to know and understand what it means to love Christ, to labor in that love relationship. We want what is easy but "easy" is not lasting. John chapter four tells of the woman at the well who had spent most of her life partaking in the drinks of life and they continually left her thirsty; but God offers her something else deeper and that is eternal life.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life,” (John 4:13-14 New Living Translation).
If you are as thirsty for love and intimacy as you say you are, then you should let the Lord quench your unending thirst. What He gives is everlasting.
Written by Francine E. Ott