Irresistible Urge to Chat

I saw a compelling video online the other day about the dangers of using your phone while driving.  It was gut wrenching to watch.  Why is it that so many of us have this compelling urge, an almost irresistible compulsion to read and respond immediately to every chat, text, email, tweet, almost regardless of where we are or what we are doing?  Why is it that, like Pavlov’s dog, when we hear that ringtone or text notification we simply cannot restrain that instinct to reach for our phone?

Perhaps we have been conditioned to think and feel that if we don’t read that text or respond to that message we will be missing out on something.  Or perhaps “Susie” will think we are ignoring her.  Or maybe “Jimmy” will think I don’t like him anymore because I didn’t get right back to him in 3 seconds or less.  Whatever the reasons, real or imagined, it would seem that we may have developed some unhealthy habits.

The video made me think about how I communicate with God.

compelled to chat image

Do I jump up and run across the house if He is “calling”?  How do I respond if I get a “message” from Him?  Do I impatiently look for his responses, hitting “refresh” every 2 seconds to see if he has replied?  Have I reduced my conversations with the Lord to a style that more closely resembles text messages – using emoticons, acronyms, and slang?   Do I start tapping my foot on the floor if he does not answer in 30 seconds?  or perhaps the alternative is the case…do I communicate with him even 1/10th of the amount that I text with friends and family?  

Have I taken today’s expectations for communicating and applied it to my relationship and conversations with God?

When you wake in the morning do you check your phone first or are you excited to start a conversation with God?  Do you rush to check for new Facebook posts, or do you start reading His Word to see what new things he wants to share with you?  Do you have an irresistible urge to communicate with God?  To pray?  To read His Holy Word?  Are you like Samuel when the Lord wanted to talk to him and Samuel replied “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”  Do you reach out to God asking like the Psalmist did “Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.

Honestly, I have a bunch of work to do in this area of my own life.  But if I want to have honest, deep, meaningful conversations with my heavenly Father and hear what he has to say to me, that is going to a concerted and deliberate effort…it is going to take time and commitment on my part.  And there is no time like the present to start…

Love…The New Four Letter Word

So, here we are on the other side of this most recent election season.  It was a season that many folks would like to do over, or perhaps just forget about for a whole of host of reasons.  For some folks, perhaps it is because we didn’t vote for either of the two horses in the race.  For others it might be because we don’t like the way the race ended.  But for nearly all of us, I would venture to say that we were appalled by the vitriolic tone in which the race was run.  It was hard to listen to, hard to watch, and nearly impossible to fathom the depths to which these candidates would go to destroy the other.  The amount of money that was spent during this election on slander, malice, and anger was simply staggering.

When did integrity and discernment get kicked to the curb?  When did values and character get hijacked?   When did we become an unloving nation?  It may sound stupid but it seems love has become a four letter word.

Perhaps you have seen a plaque in a store or someones house that has these words…

Love is patient, love is kind.”

Maybe you know the rest of the words that go along with that passage that say…

“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.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The words above talk about real love, true love.  True love is found in God.  In fact, 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.”   To be loving, the way God loved us, is to be demonstrating that kind of Christ-like love. The verses above in 1 Corinthians tell us that real love, Godly love, is patient, kind, rejoices with the truth, protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. So what does that look like in a nutshell?

Love is patient.  Even with those people that say or do things that would cause us to be unloving towards them. So just how long are you willing to be loving before you stop being loving?  It is taking the time to understand and not pre-judge.  It is taking the time to reason together.

Love is kind.  That is not just saying a kind word, it is being kind in many ways including our speech, actions, and thoughts…even when others are unlovable!

Love rejoices with the truth.  That is the truth about how God loved us when we were unlovable.  And I know that the truth about me is that I was COMPLETELY UNLOVABLE.

Love protects.  Would you be willing to protect the person that voted for the other candidate?  Think about this for a moment…do you think that the men and women of our military choose to lay down their lives only for those that they agree with on voting day?  No…in fact the greatest form of love is lay down your life for another and these folks are willing to lay down their lives for you and for me…regardless of who we voted for.  That is love folks and don’t ever forget it.

Love always trusts.  I am going to have to do a little homework in my life on this one.  Sadly when it comes to trust, we often make people jump through some mighty small hoops before we will trust them and then that trust is conditional or short term.  If ever really trust them at all.

Love hopes.  Sometimes this verse says “Love hopes all things”.  That means that I hope for the best in a person.  I want them to succeed.  I want to believe that they are doing their best and have other folks best interest at heart…including me.  Call me naive, but I want to hope all things.  I really do.

Love perseveres.  You know that saying that goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”.  Well now think of this “When the people get unlovable, the loving love more.”  True love for another sticks it out.  Nobody said it was easy. What if Christ decided he was was not going to persevere the weight and disgustingness of our sins when he gave his life on the cross.  What if he decided to stop loving us because he found us unlovable.

Now for the even harder part.  As if it wasn’t enough to be proactive and intentional in doing the things that love does do, here is the list of the things that love does not do.  You might want to be sitting down because I can almost guarantee you that one of these has stopped by for a visit in your life recently…

Love does not envy.  I wanted my candidate to win!  But don’t think I am picking on folks on one side…read the next one.  

Love does not boast.  My candidate won and yours didn’t!   Yah…that means that neither of us should be blowing our horns.

Love is not proud.  This is the natural progression from boasting.  And we all know what pride comes before.

Love does not dishonor others.  The amount of hurt that came in the form of dishonoring others for the sake of getting votes before, during, and after this election is unconscionable and it just has to stop. We need to be able to discuss things, politics, religion, schools, drugs, anything in a way that does not dishonor another person in any way.  God loves them just like he loves you!

Love is not self-seeking.  Who do you love more…yourself or others?  What are my motives each and every day?   

Love is not easily angered.  Take a look at the news tonight and tell me anger doesn’t make up a part of at least one of the headlines. Now consider your own life.  True love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.  What is the statute of limitations on the offenses people have committed against you?  How long will you hold that “wrong” up and against them?

Love does not delight in evil.  I don’t have the time or energy to get into it but it is safe to say that evil permeates our society in bold and subtle ways.  True love sees evil for what it really is and simply does not delight in it.  Watch TV for 5 minutes or crank up Youtube for a moment and take a look at what is “trending”.  True love does not delight in that stuff.

I wrote all of this in large part to remind myself of what love is and what it is not.  I also wrote it to remind us all that as we go about our lives and if we are truly desiring to love others, we will resist doing those things that true love does not do and we will commit ourselves to doing those things that demonstrate true love.  Let’s commit, this very day, to living out that kind of love.  Let’s devote ourselves to being patient, kind, rejoicing with the truth, protecting, always trusting, always hoping, and always persevering.

The reason that this is so important is because we saw it modeled perfectly by Christ Jesus himself.   “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

God bless.  TK