It’s no secret that love is a common theme throughout the month of February. Love is of God, and God is Love, so it’s a great thing to focus on. However, when it really comes down to it, I think some of us neglect putting time and effort into genuine loving relationships. Relationships—whether with friends, family, guys, or anyone—take time and effort to remain healthy and to grow. You must often lay aside your own comfort or convenience for the sake of others. I don’t know about you, but I find this really challenging sometimes. If I’m being honest, I have prioritized my planner and to-do list over people many times. I take a look at my completely inked-up planner and decide not to take that extra time to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, or help out a friend who needs a ride. I’ve always just considered myself hyper-productive. In our very individualistic, competitive world, it’s seen as a good thing. I do what I can to accomplish everything and receive the highest grades. However, this logic doesn’t fit into God’s plan. God’s kingdom is contrary to the world, and says to value people over tasks, others over ourselves, and love over productivity. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV). Did you catch that? Out of the entirety of scripture, God’s greatest two commandments for us are to love Him and love people.
God’s been teaching me this lesson for a couple months now through a couple specific relationships, as well as books I’ve read. I didn’t realize that I was changing at first, but now I see that focusing my time on relationships makes all the difference in the world. The to-do lists will never disappear, but given enough time apart the people will. The to-do lists will never deepen your relationship with Christ, but given enough time the right people will. Or maybe in your life the “to-do list” is a sport, a hobby, a job, or anything else that takes your focus off of loving people. Hear me sweet girl: anything that causes your life to reroute away from offering people love, time, and sacrifice is contrary to scripture. Christ came not to accomplish a set of tasks or be the best, but to love on the least of these. As his disciples it is our calling to love on the least of these, and the people placed immediately around you. It can be really, really tough to lay aside your own wants and cater to the wants and needs of others. But isn’t everything that offers true growth tough at times? The payoff of following God’s command to love others is truly worth it. In reality though, this command can also be fun to follow! Lay aside yourself and your to-do list and spend time with a friend. Talk deeply and see what’s going on in their life. Drive your sick friend to the doctor; bring coffee to a friend that’s having a hard day… just do something to invest in a relationship. Join me in this endeavor to learn to love people better, and watch to see how it changes your thinking and makes you more fulfilled than ever! In no time at all you’ll begin noticing countless ways to serve and love others, and when you start genuinely wanting to step into those voids, you know Christ is doing a great work in you!
Written By: Emily