Lauren is patient. Lauren is kind. She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud. Lauren is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs.
In all seriousness though…you may recognize these words as part of the ‘love verse’ in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. The verse goes on to say that love protects, trusts, hopes, and always perseveres. “And love never fails.” This truth, my friend, is no April fools joke.
I was challenged on a retreat once to put my name in the place of ‘love’ in these verses and ask myself if I dare read it out loud to my closest family and friends…or even to strangers I interact with today. Needless to say, I was humbled.
Love is a gift from God. The first attribute listed in the fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit enables us to bear this fruit of love. My love is not even close to perfect. Sometimes I’m patient, but not always. I am not always self-seeking, but that tends to be my fallback. However, I follow a God who’s love is perfect and endures forever.
My only chance at unselfish love is through a relationship with Christ. Jesus’ love restores me daily. But I must put Him first. By spending time in prayer and Scripture, I am reminded of a grace and transformational love that is quite different than what the world offers me.
In the First15 devotional, Craig Denison writes:
“Of all the wonders our Creator provides us, boundless and unadulterated relationship with Jesus vastly exceeds them all. Jesus is the best thing we will ever know. His love restores, satisfies, transforms, and heals. His grace empowers and brings transcendent peace. His nearness resolves the great fears of our hearts. And his Kingship calls us to a right lifestyle of living for heaven rather than a pursuit of that which is worldly and fleeting.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that the message of the cross may sound like foolishness to some. Yet, it’s through Christ’s death and resurrection that God’s power and wisdom is imparted to us. In his Lenten devotional, Drawn to the Cross, Henri Nouwen suggests that in a world with so many false promises, we should seek to be “fools for Christ.”
So this April 1st and Lenten season, as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, I am reminded that Jesus is my only hope. My favorite song these days is “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by CityAlight:
“What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer…My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace. To this I hold my hope is only Jesus…oh the chains are released, I can sing, ‘I am free.’ Yet not I, but through Christ in me.”
On this April Fools’ Day, I pray that being rooted and established in love, we may have to power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for us…so that we might experience the fullness of life that only He can give. (Ephesians 3:18)