Origins NOLA has been studying the books of 1, 2, and 3 John. Again and again as I’ve read these books, my attention turns to one subject: Love.
God is love. Love one another. We love because He first loved us. All these ideas are repeated throughout 1st 2nd and 3rd John.
The bottom line is, believers should be marked, above all else, by their love. As I’ve been pondering this subject, I’ve been asking myself: How am I doing in this area? If Jesus’ main command to me as a believer is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself,” then it’s high time I take stock of my ability to love. One thing I’ve found is that I’ve never really spent much time purposefully searching for ways to grow in my ability to love. I wouldn’t say that meanness is a defining trait of mine, but that’s not the same as being a person who loves excellently. I know how to be a nice girl, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m great at love.
As we were talking Sunday, discussing the idea of loving others, it occurred to me that when it comes to showing love there are two main directions, if you will. I’ll call them offense and defense. (Thanks to my Dad, my brother Bud and beloved New Orleans Saints for a good grasp of the game of football.)
Offense love I’ll define as active, purposeful things done to show love. Defense love I’ll define as countering whatever comes our way with love. Showing love through reactions, patience, and the ability to recognize and capitalize upon unexpected situations where love is needed.
Saving my pennies for months to surprise my husband with something special? Offense. Dropping my plans to listen to a friend who calls? Defense. Planning a special day for my daughter? Offense. Setting aside my book when my little boy asks me to watch his latest trick? Defense.
There are times in loving that I take the initiative, the offense if you will, and make some love happen. Then there are those constant moments when love should be the rule that governs whatever situations come along, a sort of defense played as life brings along bad days, stressful times, or needy individuals.
I’m planning to explore these ideas a bit more. I’m excited at the possibilities that come to mind when I think of improving my “game” as I seek to obey Jesus’ command to love. I’ll be writing a few more blogs on this subject, but for now I wonder if anyone has some thoughts for me… Which is more difficult for you, offense or defense love? Why? And, why do you think there isn’t more specific direction about HOW to love? Has anyone else been going along as I have, sort of assuming love would come naturally to a believer but not really purposefully seeking to learn HOW?