InPursuit

Pursuing Life’s Most Defining Commitment {Book Club Thursday}

Welcome to Book Club Thursdays!

Own Your Life Book ClubWe’re reading through Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (aff. link). For your convenience, all the posts in the series are archived {here}. So if you missed any,  feel free to head on over and catch up. Or, to make life even easier,  subscribe to our Book Club Thursdays newsletter and receive all book club posts directly to your email!

Chapter 13: Pursuing Life’s Most Defining Commitment {Owning Your Choice To Love}

Just like that, we’re on Part 5 of our book, Owning Your Life by Loving Well: Create a Lasting Legacy. I’m looking forward to seeing how these lessons (in the last 4 chapters) tie together, teaching and enabling us to leave a lasting legacy!

How about we jump right in?

The Power and Choice of Love

 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing,” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Such convicting words. To speak all the languages of the earth, to prophesy, to understand God’s secret plans, and have all the knowledge, to have faith that moves mountains, give to the poor, and sacrifice my body… without love… and all God hears is Darlene clanging around wherever she goes. Imagine that?!

It would benefit us, then, to lean in close and figure out what this kind of love looks like.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Not much in there about feelings. Rather, we’re confronted with the realization that loving others, and loving them well, is a choice. We choose to act. We choose to respond. We choose to love.

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God, in His infinite love and wisdom, creates friendship and companionship. We all desire to be known and to know others intimately. It’s part of His beautiful plan for fellowship. And yet, in a fallen world, this is so difficult to do. If we’re not careful, selfishness gets in the way and we miss out on the soul relationships we were created to experience.

It’s here where we see a new facet of God’s heart. It’s here, where we become revealers of God’s love and friendship to others as well.

“Measure your life by how well you have loved.” Such good words for this girl right here who can easily begin to measure her life’s worth by other, less meaningful things. How beautiful that God gives us the ability to own our lives with the power and choice of love. Yeah, measuring my life by how well I love… I want to live like this!

Humility Enlarges Your Heart

I love that Sally doesn’t hide her struggles from us. I echo her words, “I am still sometimes shocked at the pettiness, lack of patience, or sudden anger that rises inside of me without warning!” 

I’m reminded that we’re each on a journey. From glory to glory. From surrender to surrender. From dying to self to realizing we have yet to die to self some more. Though I wish I could live perfectly before a Holy God, my failures and weaknesses remind me of just how much I need Him. They cause gratitude to swell up within as I realize I am undeserving of the love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness He so generously pours out to me.

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In the process, we’re humbled. We realize that the same way God extends these graces on us, we’re to extend them to others. The sting and the burn of loving and forgiving others lessens as I  count the many ways in which God has loved and forgiven me. I’m consumed with the understanding that mercy, compassion, and love are not mine to hoard. Rather, they’re mine to lavishly and generously pour out.

Love Profoundly Changes the World

Sally says, ‘love profoundly changes the world’ and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve experienced the love of God radically transform my world. Somehow, taking this truth in is causing a ripple effect in my heart and I’m learning to pour and pour and pour.  And Psalm 23 becomes real, “you anoint my head with oil, my cups overflows…”

Jesus said it best,“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments,” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Love God. Love people.

If we’re going to own our lives, then we’re going to have to pursue life’s most defining commitment by owning our choice to love. Go ahead, measure your life by how well you have loved!

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So, how are you owning your life by the power and choice of love?  Let’s talk about it (feel free to do so in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or privately).

Then meet me here next week when we’ll continue Owning Our Lives by Cultivating a Sense of Place and Owning the Atmosphere of our Homes. 

*unless otherwise noted, all quotes are by Sally Clarkson.

Thoughts To Ponder

1.) What does it mean to love fervently—from the heart? Who is in need of your special love? How will you show it to them?

2.) The Bible tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). How might you show those around you the same grace, sympathy, help, kindness, and words of encouragement that you need?

Discussion Questions graciously provided by Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life Team
 
 
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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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