Proverbs 8:17 (MSG)
12-21 “I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me.
Wealth and Glory accompany me—
also substantial Honor and a Good Name.
My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!
I think sometimes we don’t realize that as humans we might want love but due to past hurts or disappointments or abuse we don’t truly believe we deserve it. God says that He loves those who love Him, and those who look for Him will always find Him. He also first loved us. He made a grand gesture of love by sending Jesus before we even asked for Him. That’s true love.
I really loved Day 19 of my Bible app devotional called “21 Days to a Victorious Life”:
Day 19– How do you recognize true love?
How do you recognize real true love? After being deceived by artificial love, it finally dawned on me. Love is gentle. Love is kind. Love is patient and love is not easily provoked. Love doesn’t seek to hurt, refer to 1 Corinthians 13. I would add, real love uplifts, protects, compliments, and seeks the best no matter what. Love is not perfect, but love is forgiving, love is not always agreeable, but when you truly love, you are always willing to work it out. More importantly, love is more than lust and doesn’t change because of feelings, “True love” loves no matter what!
Real love recognizes real love
Many times people find themselves in relationships that do not demonstrate true love. Whether it is an abusive, ungodly, or hurtful relationship, we have to recognize that this is not of God. Since God is love, our relationships should reflect God’s love through its acts of kindness, loving and supportive thoughts, and kind actions. For God loved us so much, He allowed His only begotten son to suffer and die on the cross for our sins. Although there is no love like the love of God, we should not have to question true love here on earth.
You first must love Him
No relationship can survive without God as the foundation. Yes, it may appear to work for a while, but it will never stand the test of time. Before you can truly love another, you must first fall in love with God. It is through His love that you are able to love one another, and are capable of being loved.
Falling in love with God requires spending time with Him, just as any relationship requires. We have to first get to know God, so that we can understand. His will and desire for our lives. Understanding this concept, I began to seek God each and every day of my life and as a result, fell in love with my creator. I took an hour of my day to
just spend time with Him and hear from Him. This small exercise has given me peace, clarity, and the ability to demonstrate His love through acts of kindness and selflessness. More importantly, it has resulted in a relationship with God that is truly invaluable.
Real relationships aren’t questionable
See, love shouldn’t have to be questioned. Real love does not leave doubt in your mind. So my question for you is do you love to be unloved?
If you find yourself running from true relationships to “counterfeit ones,” ask the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart and mind to be able to receive true love from rightful relationships God has already ordained. Also, ask the Holy Spirit to help you fall in love with yourself. When you truly love yourself, you will also attract real love and remove yourself from relationships that are not of love. Remember, God is love and He wants nothing more for you than real love here on earth!
I think these thoughts are powerful. I’ve only really been in love once and it’s still a tough thing to navigate. I know my love was pure, but there are still conflicting feelings about whether His was or not. Those are things that 99% of the time I successfully lay at the feet of Jesus and let be. But I recall times where I tried to sort this out myself by re-reading old letters or texts and reassuring my own spirit that no matter what happened to me, no matter how bad his actions–I could rest in knowing in his best way he loved me, but he is damaged and made unwise decisions that ate away at my trust and our relationship. I still consider, perhaps ignorantly, that this past relationship was true love–the best of the best love. But I also have to remember that it was simultaneously the worst of the worst. Love never quits, love keeps no record of wrongs, love is gentle and kind. It is important to remember this is why God wants us to be equally yoked with other believers because if our partner does not love God the way they ought to–relationships are banking on human love which will always run short. God’s love never will. You also need to truly love yourself. God makes this pretty clear when He instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves–this suggests that we already love ourselves—-and if we don’t how can we love someone else?
So allow the Holy Spirit to renew your heart and mind no matter what relationships you’ve had—both good and bad. He is ultimately the best love we can have because unlike humans He has unlimited attention, patience, grace, and love for us. Allow Him to help you love Him and yourself so you are well equipped to love others. We can only attract what we are ready for. Allow God to make you ready.