For days I have been reading and rereading and reading again chapters 13 and 14 of Grace for the Good Girl. I have tried to focus my mind on worship and service and truth but my mind refuses to stay there. My spirit just won’t rest there. The good girl in me is irritated and frustrated and tired of fighting with the spirit in me in order to stay on task. My spirit has won. So while this post is truly in reflection of chapters 13 and 14 it isn’t really about worship and service and truth.
Only one thing has come back to me as I have tried to focus on worship, service, and truth: L-O-V-E.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
-1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Worship, service and truth can only stem from this great love.
Worship is the emotion of love.
Expressed in praise, “Oh let me tell you all the ways and reasons that I love you.”
Expressed in time in the Word, “I love all that I know about you. I want to know you more so I can love you more.”
Expressed in obedience, “I love you so much I want to do everything you ask me to do.”
Service is the action of love.
“I love you so much I want to take care of the people and things you love.”
Truth is the acceptance of love.
“I love you so much I believe what you say about me and the world around me.”
This last week was a long and trying week for me. By Thursday I was completely spent. My mom came and took my kids to stay at her house. I had planned on doing a lot of catch-up but quickly discovered what I needed was rest.
I read my Bible and these chapters again. I worshiped. And I felt God say I wasn’t listening. So I turned on the TV. Because if I can’t hear God clearly through His Word than the TV must have the answer- Ha! I ended up watching The Story of David, circa 1976, which had been sitting in my Netflix instant queue for several weeks. Of course I laughed at the ridiculous hairstyles and the less than stellar sets, scenes, and acting. But the laughter didn’t last long. I quickly became enraptured with David’s story.
David was called “the man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that, wondering how to become someone after God’s heart. I think I’ve finally figured it out. However one may feel about some of David’s failures, there is one thing about him that stands out in him more than in any other Biblical person I’ve come to know- David loved. David loved whom he loved fiercely, without apology, and without limit.
My husband happened to call at the tail end of part 1 of The Story of David. If it had been anyone else I wouldn’t have dared to answer. I was overcome with emotion as I had witnessed David’s powerful love for Saul and Jonathan and I was mess of snot and hot tears and my voice cracked and failed as I tried to explain to my husband that nothing was wrong. He laughed at me and I laughed with him.
It felt silly to get so caught up in the emotion of David, a story that’s thousands of years old, told through melodrama and big hair. But the truth still struck me. David’s love and heart toward Saul never changed, regardless of how Saul tried to hurt him. God delivered Saul into David’s hand on more than one occasion, but David refused to take his life. God had to raise up an army to dethrone Saul. And David had already told Jonathan before God that he would never take the throne if Jonathan were still alive to claim it.
One battle won the throne for David.
A battle he didn’t fight in.
A battle that cost him his king-father and his brother.
As much as it was God’s victory and Israel’s victory it wasn’t David’s victory.
We love because he first loved us.
-1 John 4:19
My heart broke in places I didn’t know existed as I watched David grieve instead of celebrate. I considered the heart of God. I thought about how God is the intended King and head and ruler of our lives and how, like David, He refuses to take that throne from us. Only if we surrender it to Him will He live there. And I thought of the people I know or know of who haven’t surrendered it to Him yet. And I saw God’s heart break as He mourned deeply for those who never surrender. No matter how much it may hurt Him that they deny Him, His love for them remains, much like David’s love for Saul.
I thought too about what I knew part 2 of the story told. I considered that David ruled best in those times when he was most reluctant to be king. I considered whether it was possible to maintain a reluctant acceptance of being who God has called me to be. There’s humility in the reluctance. An acknowledgement that I am not fully capable of it on my own. An admission that I am undeserving of so much goodness, grace, and favor. God maintains all the power when I remain just a little bit reluctant.
Truth: Love is the answer to having more faithful worship, more fruitful service, and more trust in the truth.
Only two Thursdays left that I will be writing my thoughts about Grace for the Good Girl. I would love to have you join me and the others in this author hosted book study. It’s not to late to join, just visit Emily Freeman’s blog, Chatting at the Sky.