The Love Challenge is a strategy for tackling the greatest challenge ever set before us—loving one another!
If the world is our mission field as Christ followers, then the Love Challenge is our field guide; prompting us to be ‘so full’ of God’s love. But the world isn’t only a mission field, it is a battlefield littered with broken, messy circumstances and challenging, unloveable people. So how do we navigate a fallen, imperfect world?
We are to love as God does; overflowing with His tender, loving care. Imagine my delight and surprise upon the realization #theLOVEchallenge shares an acronym with the phrase ‘tender, loving care.’ The sweetness of such a revelation was not lost on me and lead me to create an easy reminder for how we can not only accept but meet the challenge to love as God does—and in all the hardest places!
Tender: The literal definition of tenderness is gentleness (or kindness). Gentleness is my favorite fruit of the Spirit. A gentle response to a harsh word or offense requires much restraint and self-control. When we act in accordance with God’s gentleness, we are victors for His glory. It is a tall order to fill and one I very often fail to deliver. But, oh so valuable in Kingdom building!
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Phil. 4:5
Loving: Loving the unloveable is counter-intuitive for us as humans. But when I remember how much God loves me and that He possesses the same redeeming love for everyone, I begin to choose weeping over gnashing. I begin to only see human plight and suffering, My heart softens and I learn to love as God does: generously, abundantly, and unconditionally.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11
Care: When we dive deep into another’s story, we begin to view that person with a ‘lens of understanding.’ When we understand another’s unique perspective—their brokenness, we grow in compassion and grace. We become more Christlike. I love these words by Tim Keller, Winners of souls must first be weepers of souls. When we take great care and concern with wounded souls like yours and mine, we are mirrors of His image.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.
When facing challenging circumstances, we can choose to love others with the same tender, loving care God gives us. So much of the world’s problems could easily be solved by observing the command to love one another. Loving others is the lasting impact I hope to leave in this world… matter of fact, I long for it.
So how can we get to a point of being ‘so full’ of God’s love, we no longer fathom speaking an unkind word or committing an unkind deed? By spending time in His presence. And prayer tops the list for how we can spend time with Him. Pray not with the hopes that God will change the challenging people and circumstances in your life. Although, He might. But pray to be transformed to His likeness. Pray God will guide you to respond with unfathomable love.
That is my quest… to respond in love… to lead in love. To be ’so full’ of God’s love, others can’t help but see Him through me!
PRINT your own #theLoveChallenge reminder card as a gift from me to you!
”To be so full of God’s love, I no longer fathom speaking an unkind word or committing an unkind deed.” Join me!?
And remember, apply generous doses of #tlc as you journey towards learning to love as God does. Love is what the world needs to see—to believe! Share your journey or follow others by using the hashtag(s); #tlcjourney, #theLoveChallenge2021, or #theLoveChallenge. 💕