I am sure no one has teenagers like mine. What seems to be typical is the need to repeat myself. This is not exclusive to commands, like “put away the dishes, please”, “make your bed, please”, “take out the trash, please”, “pick up your clothes, please”. This also includes the teachable moments of why I ask them to do certain things, why treating someone in a certain manner is important, why we should watch not only our words but how we say them. It is daily training, daily reminders, daily discipline, and daily conversations of what seems to be the exact same situation…did I mention it occurs daily?
We are now at a stage where my son will sometimes interrupt me, because he has heard it before, and say, “I got it, I got it, I got it.” My response is then, “No, you don’t got it! Otherwise I would not be saying this again!” With each time I re-mind them, re-discipline them, re-train them, re-teach them, I say it a little differently, trying to relate it in such a way as to flip the switch to a truly, “I got it” moment. It is like a deja vous… Didn’t I just say that to him? Didn’t I just tell her why? This reminds me of Bill Murray in the movie Ground Hog’s Day. He awakes every morning to the exact same day, Ground Hog’s Day. At first, he has the “I got it, I got it, I got it”, mentality. He slowly learns that he can only break out of the cycle and improve his life by taking what he has experienced on the same day, but the day before, and learn from his mistakes, then apply it the next day, in the same situation, to make the changes necessary for growth and moving forward.
We are all not much different than teenagers who require continual training and molding. God knew this ahead of time. He knew that we would need to hear the same thing and be reminded of that thing daily because it is too easy to get caught up in our selfish selves. He repeats himself, “By the way, did I tell you to love one another?” I got it, God. I got it. I got it. I got it. No, we don’t “got it” or He would not have put the message of love as the common thread and command throughout the entire New Testament.
Love has been the message for the last two blog posts and, now, here it is again! As I have written in the previous posts,
”’You are a Christian. This is what Christians do.’ It is not optional. We love one another.”
“Family rule number one, number two, number three, number four, number five, number six, number seven…Love one another.”
“Keep ‘that one thing’ in our view. One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean [#*@#*]”☺
When reading the bible, one cannot go very far without stumbling upon yet another scripture concerning love, why it’s important, what it looks like, and how to do it. Since God is love, that is the one characteristic that we need to practice continually if we are going to grow to become more Christ like.
In the Message translation, Philippians 1:9-11 says this,
“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus would be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”
I absolutely love the way this translates! Paul prays that our love will flourish, or grow luxuriantly, produce abundantly, lush in growth, richly abundant, profuse! Learning to love much is good but loving well is all the better! Love appropriately…let your love be suitable to a particular person, condition, occasion, or place. Don’t be moved by your emotions but use your head. A lover’s life? Everything you do should be motivated by love. Be proactive about it. Think about it. Let your life be an example of it…a life Jesus would be proud of. Your soul will prosper from living this way. People will see Christ in you and want what you have! This makes everything circle back for the glory of God. All of this can happen if we only love much and love well!
God’s purpose for our lives is practically a flashing neon sign in the scriptures. Love. Love. Love… and then love some more. How can we possibly miss it? Yet we do, daily. Just as we think we “got it”, we don’t “got it”. But daily He forgives us, daily He encourages us to try again, daily He gives us opportunities to practice it more, daily He gives us the grace we need to love like Him, daily He believes in us, just like we believe in our children. If we didn’t believe in them, why would we bother repeating ourselves? We know their potential. We know God has a unique purpose for their lives. God knows our potential and in order for us to walk in that unique purpose which He established before we were even born, we must learn to love much and love well. With our eyes straight ahead, daily we must strive for a love that grows luxuriantly. Love, love, and when you have done all you think you can, love some more.