As I have loved you…
Have you ever seen Georges Seurat’s painting, ‘A Sunday afternoon on the La Grande Jatte’?
If you haven’t, do an Internet search and check it out. It is a beautifully detailed painting of people relaxing in a park, but it’s more than what it first appears, if you step closer you’ll see it is made up of millions of dots. It is truly fascinating when you consider that each tiny dot works together to create this beautiful masterpiece.
Seeing as this is the month of love, I’ve been thinking about love, and what John 15:12 tells us. Mulling these things over, Seurat’s painting popped into my head.
As I sat there thinking about love as defined by culture and asking myself how God calls me to love…I saw two different examples. We get a very clear definition of cultures love when we interact with different media outlets. Movies often focus on the warm fuzzy, fairy tale aspects of love. A prince swoops in to save the princess at the right moment, their eyes meet, it is love at first sight, and then they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. We hear songs on the radio comparing love to every good and perfect thing we encounter. We see love on the cover of the magazines that line the checkout lanes at our supermarkets. It is all around us, people falling in…as well as out of love.
The word of God, however, defines love as much more than feeling, it describes it as something requiring effort-at times a great deal of effort.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This definition brings into play the less popular characteristics of love…the side you want to skip over, or shove into the closet for no one to see, the side that often causes us to lose focus, commitment, and give up on love.
Jesus however in His love for us, didn’t skip over the rough spots. He didn’t choose to walk away when things got hard. He chose to live it exactly as it was intended….
Jesus, himself was the ultimate example of true love. His actions throughout his ministry, displayed its truth over and over. His death on the cross was the ultimate display, proving the commitment, forgiveness, dedication, patience, long suffering, and many other sacrificial qualities of real love, love that remained intact when we, the object, were so unlovable and unworthy.
I don’t mean to discount the warm fuzzy, beautiful experiences love entails, but focusing on this small piece is like looking at Seurat’s painting close up. In doing so, all you see is just a bunch of dots, and stopping there, leads us to miss one of the most beautiful paintings ever created. Reading God’s word and seeing His definition allows us to see the dots, take a step back, and take in the entire work of art, every piece easy and difficult working together to make it a beautiful masterpiece.
Love is a masterpiece.
As you are considering love, those you love romantically, in friendships, or as family, I challenge you to consider God’s definition of love, after all – He commanded it. Take in every aspect, read His story of sacrifice, and read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Consider for yourself, what type of love are you demonstrating? Are you living it superficially focusing only on the feeling? If you are, I challenge you to take another look, seek what the Lord has said, and when it comes to the type of love you want to experience, seek Him out and…Choose Him.