Love & Faithfulness
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3 NIV
I've read this verse before, but for the first time it spoke to me. What if we filtered our lives through love and faithfulness which became the motive to everything we did. How different would life be?
A filter is a porous device for removing impurities. Picture love and faithfulness intertwined together as a filter which is the device where all of life's circumstances are passed through. Paul spoke of love in 1 Corinthians 13 saying, "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 John 4:8 tells us that, "God is love." and 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." Now faithfulness means being steadfast, dedicated, dependable, and worthy of trust. Psalm 117:2 says, "For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever." Also, Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." and Proverbs 14:22 tells us, "But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness." What a beautiful combination of these two virtues! These scriptures tell me we can work love and faithfulness in our lives. Now think, what would life be like if that was your filter?
The purpose of a filter is to remove impurities. They're things that are impure or for us morally wrong. It says in Colossians 3:5, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." To "put to death" is an action, it's to stop feeding something you want to die. Scripture also says to, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." [Ephesians 4:31], "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips." [Colossians 3:8], and "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of all kind." [1 Peter 2:1]. To "get rid of" or "rid yourselves" is to remove something you don't want. These impurities of the heart are the things we should have removed. If our daily emotions were poured through the "love and faithfulness" filter and we allowed ourselves to be ruled by these two virtues these impurities would rise to the top to be discarded. Love and faithfulness would remain. What is it in life you love and show faithfulness to?
I love Inca Cola! Some of you might be asking, what is that? Well it's Peruvian soda and it's delicious. Friends that have tried it describe it as sweet and fruity, but to me it's the soda I grew up with which I enjoy very much. Lately, I'm unable to have as much I would like because of certain health issues and if I had to give it up, I would. That's a love I can let go of because there's no need to remain faithful to a can of soda. Now there's a love I wouldn't be able to let go of and that's my three kids. I fell in love with them before they even entered this world. It was a type of love I never felt before nor experienced. Somehow our hearts were permanently connected. Everything I do as a mom is through love I have for them. At times it can be difficult, as I'm not perfect and make mistakes, but I can never give up on them because I choose to be faithful. They're easy to love and remain faithful to. Then there's another type of love, the love I have for my hubby John. It was easy to fall in love with him but became very difficult to remain in love with him. I was tested beyond what I thought I could bear and continually had to make the decision to love him despite what occurred. It's the kind of love I had to work at, be intentional with and persevere through, but taught me a lot. I learned what it means to love unconditionally and to remain faithful to, not perfectly but willingly. What relationship in your life is testing you in love and faithfulness?
Thankfully God doesn't have to learn to love us through the ups and downs of life because He chose us from the beginning and adopted us in love [Ephesians 1:4-5]. Nor does His faithfulness run out even when we are faithless, He remains faithful [2 Timothy 2:13]. To receive this kind of love and faithfulness seems unimaginable, but it's not. God showed us this kind of love when He sent His Son Jesus into this world [John 3:16]. Jesus is the greatest example of love being demonstrated to us through His life here on earth. The faithfulness He showed on the cross while being crucified said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." [Luke 23:34]. Jesus did not turn His back on us but carried out God's plan which cost Him His life. Through Jesus Christ we have been saved. God wants to work this kind of love and faithfulness in our hearts and through our lives. We need to allow Him to do the inner work that only He can do. At times we might not like the very tool God chooses to use to bring that about, but are you going to be willing? Work must be done inwardly to be effective outwardly. Will you allow God access to your heart? Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart and see lives change for the better!
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
[Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV]