Focus 40 Day 4: Extreme Living – Really loving
Prayer Focus: Pray for an extreme love for God – Mark 12:28-30
Extreme Living—Really Loving
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
—1 Corinthians 13:11–13 (NRSV)
I HAVE A COUSIN who is ten months younger than I am. Growing up, we were closer than sisters. Her family didn’t celebrate Christ-mas, but she would spend Christmas Eve with us. Then we grew older, went to differ-ent schools, and developed different circles of friends. I eventually moved away to Indi-ana for college and we drifted apart.
We may all have that one (or perhaps a few) family relation that we have drifted away from or don’t know very well. We see them at family reunions, but that’s about it. Yet because they are a part of the family, we claim to love them anyway—even if for no other reason than simply because “blood is thicker than water.”
But can we truly love someone we don’t know? Thanks to Facebook, I know my cousin’s daughter just turned three, but I don’t know what it’s like to live a day in her life. I love her anyway because she is my cousin’s daughter, but I don’t have a rela-tionship with her or know what it’s like to love her when she’s throwing a tantrum.
In the same way, we can say we love God because of the stories we have heard in church. But until we desire to know God, we really only love what God does. Or we can say we love the people in the pew next to us on Sundays, but as long as we aren’t concerned about a day-to-day relationship with them, we don’t really know what it means. We can tell a stranger that we love them and desire for them to know Jesus, but as long as we aren’t willing to engage in re-lational conversation with them, we really don’t know what it takes to love them.
We are loved by a God that knows us fully and fully loves us. While we may never know anyone as fully as God does, as we begin to live in relationship with them and know them better, our capacity to love them increases as well. And in time, it will no longer be important to actively seek to know, but love will still remain.
Creator God, you know us fully and you love us fully. We desire to know you and to know those you love that we may love you and love them as well. Amen
Jael Tang, Church of God Missionary to