I cannot love you

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I spend time each week going through verses in the Bible to meditate and study and sink into with some ladies and it is one of the most difficult and most rewarding disciplines and pleasures of my days and weeks. This week, we are looking at Ephesians 4:1-3.

I am glad to be at this part of the book because I feel like the previous passages in Ephesians have been describing who we are but these are the actions verses – what we are to do. And I am, at my core, task oriented.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent time focusing on v.2 (with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love) and looking at the words used here:

 

Showing forbearance (NASB) (patience, tolerance, bearing with one another, etc)

–        Anechomai- to hold oneself up against , i.e. (figurative) put up with : – bear with, endure, forbear, suffer
–        From ana, in, and, echo, to have. To hold up or back from falling, to hold in or back, restrain, stop. In the NT, to hold oneself upright, to bear up, hold out, endure.
~        Syn. to support, carry, take up, to bring or bear, to bear up under, endure, to bear or endure habitually, to bear as a matter of permanent attitude, to bear up against, to treat with mildness or moderation, bear gently with, to suffer, to hold under, to endure as far as things or circumstances are concerned, enduring or being long-suffering toward people

 

I like the word picture painted with this – to hold oneself up against –  to hold in or back – to hold oneself upright. To bear with one another = to hold ourselves up against.

I am to lean on you as you lean on me.

Because I will lean.

I will fall.

And I will need others to hold me in or back when I cannot hold myself upright. When sin escapes my flesh and seeks to express itself against others, I need to be held back and held up in love, which requires gentleness and humility. I will also have times when I am the one to hold myself upright to be leaned against.

 

Love

–        i.e. affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love – feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.
–        the love of God or of Christ – the love that is derived from God
–        in the plural, love feasts, public banquet of a frugal kind instituted by the early Christian church and connected with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The provisions were contributed by the more wealthy individuals and were made common to all Christians, whether rich or poor who chose to partake. Portions were also sent to the sick and absent members. These love feasts were intended as an exhibition of that mutual love which were required by the Christian faith, but as they became subject to abuses, they were discontinued.
~       Syn. Philia, friendship based on common interest; philanthropia, love for man, philanthropy; agapai heorte, a feast or festival; eipnon, the chief meal of the day, dinner; doche, a reception, feast banquet

When used in the plural sense, this ties into the previous verse about being called and what that looks like (one of the ladies shared about this word specifically: calling = klesis = an invitation (figurative): – calling. Noun from kaleo, to call. A call, an invitation to a banquet.)

(I also happen to be a huge fan of the idea that love is expressed by food) 😉

 

I was struck by the idea the love of God or of Christ is “derived” from God/Christ. I am not sure why this all of a sudden hits me differently, but something about this makes it easier to see that this kind of love cannot be done. It has to come – derive – from the Lord. I cannot produce it or multiply it or even control it; because it is not of my self. This creates a humble spirit within me.

I am not capable to love, even should I want to.

And I have seen that as I have been careless this week. Meeting presented needs with an attitude of carelessness – as in, I do not want to have to care. And this has wrecked my heart. And I can do nothing about it except recognize this, surrender it to the Lord, and choose to walk in the way worthy of this call…

 

This is what I love about this kind of discipline- I have been feeling these verses this week. I tend to expect verses to shed light on the weeks, but also they almost seem to give an idea of what to expect. Oh, we’re talking about walking in a manner worthy of the call out of humility, gentleness, patience and love? I bet that will be tested and tried this week – I bet that will be practiced and practiced this week.

And it has and is. Stress from work has been at an all-time high it seems. I feel as though I have been attacked from all sides – as though I can do nothing right. And I know this is not truth. I know this is my fearful perception. I have been tired, thus sensitive and in tears constantly this week.  On top of this, the combination of medications I have been taking and finishing have made me feel as though I have no muscles. Sunday, there were a couple of times I almost fell at church and, at the time, did not know why (come to find out this medication says “do not exercise” and “stay out of the sun” and I did both). The confusion and fear from not knowing what was happening and not being in control of my own body was overwhelming.

I began the week by praying for others that the Lord would make clear his truth (and I pray that for myself as well) because the truth does not always feel good or easy.

But this is truth: that we are to walk in a manner worthy of the call – out of humility, gentleness, patience and love.

 

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