A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse


A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Monday, March 28, 2011

True Love

I remember seventh grade. I moved to a new state that year and what a hard time in life to start over with new people and places. Some good friendships budded but I still found myself mired in adolescent angst – real and manufactured – and searching for ways to cope with it.

So logically I found the prescription in hair metal. It was the late ‘80s, after all, where nearly every popular fad seems highly questionable now as to whether some sort of alien force had introduced nitrous oxide into the air in order to convince all of us that these things were sophisticated ideas. How many different colors of Aqua Net bottles did we need?

But I digress. I remember finding such solace in the metal tunes. They spoke to the turmoil I was feeling inside. Def Leppard would scream from my boombox: “Love bites, love bleeds, it’s bringing me to my knees......” Sing it, brother! They just knew!

Love.

So not what we think it is.

I am blessed with many brilliant friends. Speaking with one a week or so ago, she said that “in our culture, we show love by agreeing with each other,” and she’s right. That is how we show what we think love is......but that’s really just a silent decision to not bring a particular element of conflict into a relationship. And sometimes that particular element of conflict so desperately needs introduced.

Today I read John 15, one of the most intimate passages of scripture in regards to how beautiful Jesus views His relationship with us. He is the Vine. We are the branches, connected to Him, called to bear fruit to bring glory to the Father’s name. He calls us friends. He tells us that He and the Father will come and make Their home in us. He tells us He loves us. And He tells us if we aren’t bearing fruit by staying grounded in Him, we’ll be cut off.

That adds a little bit of conflict, I would say.

Again I’m reminded when I read scripture how the purpose of my life really just isn’t about me finding whatever it is that brings fulfillment and parking myself there until I feel like moving onto the next thing, assuming His blessings suggest that the pursuit of happiness is the goal I should constantly have in front of me. I’m here for a purpose that is about something far more wonderful and significant and important than claiming my imagined right to breathe easily in life.

Love is an action taken, a word spoken, and perhaps sometimes a feeling experienced that is saturated with the decision to relate to the other in a way that prioritizes his or her best interests - affection for this particular person notwithstanding, although that generally helps. Life is much more rewarding when we choose to believe that there’s something likeable about everyone, even if it needs to be gently mined by showing him or her that we believe it’s there.

But anyway....best interests for what? As a Christian, it means that we long to see the other in perfect relationship with God. Her gifts passionately used for His glory. His heart made whole by God’s presence and then presented to the world as a living testimony. Her whole self abandoned in worship. His life filled with joy from knowing the truth of who he is in Christ.

When we come to the awareness that this is love, and begin to grasp the staggering reality that this abundance is what God desires for us – not more than anything else, because there is nothing else – His goodness shines across the ocean of our existence in a way that makes it so we can’t help but dive in to feel its warmth. The cross is Jesus’ way of telling us that nothing matters to Him except fulfilling His vision of seeing us in perfect relationship with God. That is love. And that is what we’re called to do for each other.

That’s worth the conflict that may be brought into our relationships, because what godly love from one to another truly boils down to is simply sharing the vision you decide to have of the other abounding in joy, celebrating with his Father.

3 comments:

  1. Well said, Jen! And I used Aussie Sprunch spray in the 80's or Rave!! :)

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  2. I can relate to starting over at that age--I was in the middle of 6th grade when i went from a small Christina school community to a public middle school!
    Your comment about how we show love by agreeing with each other--I think that is so true. We try not to make others feel uncomfortable. Hmmm, something to think about...

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  3. Ah yes, I remember the purple bottles with the kangaroos on them!

    Renee - middle school is a horrible time to have to make a school change!

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