Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lenten Reflection #12: Growing in Love

I was looking through pictures of my family today.  It is amazing how we have grown and changed as a family.  I thank God for such a wonderful wife and amazing children.

As I looked the pictures I was just taken about how much the kids have grown and changed.  (I also noticed that as a family we like to take selfies!)    I was surprised by how much I have changed.

I also thought about how much my love and my relationship with each of them has grown and changed throughout these years.

Nicole and I where married almost 19 years ago.  We dated for 4 years and where friends for two years before that.  We have known each other over half of our lives. I remember on the day we were married that I was so in love with her.  The truth is I did not have a clue what love was then.  As we have shared our lives together through the good, the bad and the ugly my love for here has grown deeper and wider.  I love her more today than that day we stood in the Platte Woods United Methodist Church and confessed our love to each other in front our family and friends.

On the day that each of my kids were born I was there and the love for them was instant.  But the truth is from that day forward my love for them has grown deeper and wider.  As our relationships have developed as we have grown as parent and child, so too has love.

My prayer for every couple that I perform a marriage ceremony for is that they will never love each other less than they do on that day. That down the road they will look back and say we thought we loved each other on our wedding day but our love for each other has grown more and more through the years.

It should be that way.  Our relationships, just like us, are growing and changing all the time.  When we invest in them.  When we put the time and energy into our relationship they grow deeper and deeper.  As are relationship grow  closer our love grows deeper and deeper.  I see this as I look at the photos.  I can see the growth of love and relationships even more than I notice the loss of hair or the physical changes of my family.

It is also true that when we neglect our relationships that they will change also.  Love can grow stagnant and distance can grow between us and others when we do not invest in our relationships.  Sadly, I see this way too often.  Marriages and families that start off in love but the growth is not deeper.  The relationship is not invested in.  No time or energy is put into growing closer and growing in love with one another and they drift apart.  I have seen in spouses and I have seen it in other family relationships.

I have also seen it in relationship with God.

The truth is that we should always be growing in our faith, knowledge and love of God.  As we live in relationship with Christ we should be growing in relationship with Christ.  We should be able to look back on that day that we decided to follow Jesus and say you know I thought I loved Jesus then but I did not know what that meant.  I love Jesus more today than I did back then.  My faith is deeper.  My love is deeper.  My relationship with Christ is closer than it was in that day.

Paul writes, "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

 Our relationship with Christ is to be growing, maturing and building up in love.  Our love for God and one another grows as we invest in our relationship with Jesus.  We cant expect that our relationship with Christ will develop without us giving that relationship our time, our attention, our energy.  In the same way that our relationship with others can grow apart without our investment we grow apart from God.  Not because God does not love us or what a relationship with us but, because we have neglected our relationship with Him.

The awesome thing about investment in our relationship with Christ is that it effects every relationship that I have.  I am able to love my wife more as I grow in relationship with Jesus.  As I grow in my relationship with Christ I am able to love my children deeper.  As I mature and grow deeper in my love of God my love for others grows.  I am changed.  I can see the world around me through heavens eyes.  I  can be more forgiving, more compassionate, more caring,  and more gracious.  As I grow in my relationship with Christ my priorities are changed.  As I grow in my relationship with Christ I see what is really important and know what I need to invest my time, my energy and  my resources into.

Today I thank God for the growth and for that fact that he still is not through with me.  I thank God for his love and for the love of family and friends.  I am grateful that I can look back to the day when I made a decision to make Christ's my life and say with confidence that I love God more today than I did that day.  I can say with confidence that I love his people more today than I did that day.  I am changed and I am changing because of my relationship with Jesus.  I can also see that as I look at the pictures of my family.

In Christ's love and mine,

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