Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Transforming Love

She sang in the church choir, and he played in the orchestra. At first glance, they appeared to be an odd match. There had even been some strong opposition to their courtship. After all, he was seventeen years old than she. The age difference was significant; different ages brought different memories, different experiences, and different perspectives. Hard things for them, and sometimes for others, to get past.

But she had loved him for four years. At first he thought that she might outgrow it, and would not allow a relationship to develop. But after the first two years had passed, against his better judgment, he softened to the idea.

She continued to love him intensely and steadfastly. She wooed him more than he wooed her. As he grew to love her, he took the lead and relentlessly pursued her in the way that every woman longs to be pursued. And now they were engaged, and soon to be married.

I sat watching her during this church concert, reflecting on and praying for them. As she had been trained to do, her eyes roamed around the audience as she sang. Being in love obviously suited her. Always nice-looking, she now had that special soon-to-be-married glow about her.

Then her eyes stilled, and I saw it.

loving look 2

Instinctively I knew that her eyes had settled on him. Even from a distance I could see her face soften and her eyes fill with tenderness. She wore the sweet, mysterious smile of one who loves without reservation and knows that she is absolutely, completely loved in return.

I felt like an intruder as she gazed at him; love, longing, and anticipation written on her face. She was completely transformed, and absolutely, radiantly beautiful.

That’s what love does. It transforms us. It turns us from something ordinary into something beautiful. Yet as wonderful as it may be, our normal, human love pales when compared to the kind of love that Jesus offers us; merciful, gracious, sacrificial, holy, passionate, loyal, unconditional, steadfast, unfailing, transforming, perfect love.

Hebrews 12:2 challenges us to “fix our eyes on Jesus”. To the degree that we do this, we cannot help but be changed. The desire to please others is replaced by the desire to please Him; their approval pales in comparison to His, and all other loves become a shadow of one far greater. That process often takes far longer than we’d like. But we are promised that “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The more we look at Jesus, the more we are changed. We become more beautiful because we become more like Him.

My friend could have focused on any of the other people she knew at the church concert that night. But she chose to focus on the one she loved best. Just as she was changed from pretty to beautiful by her love for her fiancé, we too, can be changed.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus allows us to be so changed by our love for Him, and His for us, that others can see it, and long to know His love, too.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Further reflection:

  1. Where do you think you focus the majority of your attention?
  2. Does it change you for the good, or not?
  3. How do you think loving Jesus is different?
  4. How might you be changed by it?

Father, I want to be changed by Your love. I want to look at You, without meaningless distractions, because You are the one I love best. Your love is redeeming and perfect, and I long to be changed by it.

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