Friday, April 14, 2006

Living Beyond Myself ... Week 3

This week, we studied Agape (Love). Love, love, love.

And while I know we learned a lot about Agape, this just really caught my attention ... the characteristics of love. We all know them. In fact, 1 Cor. 13:4-8a is a scripture that is read at every single wedding I have ever gone to. In fact, it was read at mine, and probably read at yours, too.

Here it is in the NIV Version:

"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 perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Cor. 13:4-8a (NIV)

Now, I don't know about you... but because it's read so often, when I see this verse, it sort of falls dull, and I sort of think to my self... "yeah, yeah... love is patient, love is kind... yeah. Got it."

But do I really?

What if I were to put my name in front of each characteristic? Would the meaning of this passage still hold true? No. Of course not... because GiBee is not patient all the time. GiBee is not kind all the time. GiBee is envious every now and then... Well, you get the picture. And so do I.

But, I guess I've become immune to the NIV translation, because even when I do put my name in it, I still yawn. Shhh -- Don't tell anyone that I said that.

So, since you all know me so well, then you probably guessed at the very beginning of this post that I was NOT going to let the NIV translation get the best of me. So... here is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in the Message translation ... and let me warn you... it's an eye opener. Are you ready?

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies." 1 Cor 13:4-8a (The Message)

See what I mean? Yeah. I thought so. But, praise the Lord I have learned this week that Agape is a divine capacity to love. And -- it is more of a response than a feeling. And, hallelujah! It is expressed through me when I surrender to the power and temperament of the Holy Spirit.

And, this week's study recap about Agape would NOT be complete if I did not share with you the major elements of agape... which are particularly fitting, since we will be celebrating our saviors resurrection on Sunday...

Action and Sacrifice.

"This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him." 1 John 4:9 (The Message)

Y'all -- God DEMONSTRATED his love for us through the SACRIFICE of his own son. FOR us. So that we wouldn't have to carry the weight of our sins. He took it all for us!


Friend... He was beaten beyond recognition. Ridiculed and mocked. Betrayed. He was dragged through dirt streets carrying a wooden cross of horrific proportions. He was spat on. And ... He was crucified with NAILS. Real nails. He lost real blood. He was stabbed in the side. He was abandoned by his Father for one brief moment. And then he forgave us. And he died ... so that we might live.

I just don't know any one who could possibly love you more than Jesus.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend ... And ponder on the amazing Love our father has for us.


Carol said...

Great insights, GiBee. And you're right - we can become so familiar with a passage that we lose sight of it completely. I loved going through these bits of scripture in our LBY and seeing them anew.

Happy Easter!

Heather Smith said...

Beautiful post GiBee. I know I'm not doing the study myself, but I love seeing what all of you are getting out of it. Hopefully I can catch the next one!! Have a blessed Easter weekend!
Oh yeah, a few weeks ago I posted a poem that the youth at my church wrote about love. Its what they got out of the love chapter! It's pretty cool! Check it out!!

Susanne said...

Happy Easter! It's great to go into different translations isn't it? It can really make a scripture fresh & relevant! The song that keeps going thru my head today has a line that says: Amazing love, how can it be, that you my king would die for me. Amazing love, I know it's true, it is my joy to honor you." It is amazing love when we think of all He did for us on this day known as Good Friday.

BooMama said...

That Message translation hit me where it hurts. :-) Thanks for your great insight!

Chaotic Mom said...

I like how you substituted your NAME for agape/love. VERY Interesting. Something I'll start working on, too. ;)

Morning Glory said...

What a beautiful post, GiBee. I'm afraid I'm guilty of going into auto-pilot when that passage of scripture is read. I really must pay more attention.

Happy Easter to you, Friend!

momrn2 said...

Thanks for the reminder... and the challenge!

Perri said...

We just did this a few weeks ago - during our morning Bible study, we went around the table and read the whole thing 6 times, putting each person's name in place of the word Love.

Sure was an eye opener - like Mom is patient (NOT)

Heth said...

That verse is a killer. The Holy Spirit gets me everytime.

HolyMama! said...

well said, GiBee!

Faith said...

Okay! I guess i need to go staight to the store on Monday and get THE MESSAGE. Fine! Do you want a finders fee?

Beautiful post. I though I'd already commented, but, seeins' how I don't see it here - I guess I am mistaken. The other/imagined one was probably better than this.

Patricia said...

You know, I was blown away with the timing of this study, and the fact that we were studying God's demonstrative and sacrificial love for us on Good Friday! Amazing love, how can it be, that You, my King, died for me (us)! I pray that you are having a very blessed Resurrection Day!

Lauren said...

I to was struck by the timing of study about Christ's sacrific and the agape love of the Father on Good Friday. Glad I stuck to the schedult this week. :)

BTW, I never have been able to put my name into that text and not squirm.

Maria said...

Great insights, and now I am going to drag out my Message and use it alongside the other one I use inthe study.

Addie said...

Beautiful and a big ole' AMEN!!!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

so, so, so true. Amen.

(gotta love the message eh?)