Five Guidelines to Embrace for Doing Life Today ~ Love Generously
As you go… Live Simply Love Generously Speak Truthfully Care Deeply Pray Daily And leave the rest to God.
This is the second part of a series based on this lovely benediction. To read part 1, click here: “Live Simply“
What does loving generously look like?
The first great commandment is to love.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.
And of course, the first listed fruit of the Spirit is love.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
But it is the following verse from 1 John 4 that best paints the picture for me of what “love generously” might look like:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8)
God and love are one. God doesn’t merely love; God is love. The picture I see when I contemplate those three little words is God drenching me in a never-ending rainfall of unconditional love. The way God loves us is the way He wants us to love others.
How do we love like God? It sounds impossible to love like God, but the Bible offers lots of instructions. Consider this one from The Message translation of Ephesians 5:1-2.
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
That sounds straightforward and simple enough, doesn’t it? But as we learned last week, simple doesn’t mean easy. Paul offers a specific and descriptive list of what love is and is not in 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s one of them.
Love is kind.
(1 Corinthians 13:4)
If love is kindness in action, then kindness is love in action.
And this is what Jesus says about love in action.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
(1 John 3:18)
I want to share two stories that demonstrate loving with action.
The first story happened in a little country store. I had stopped at the store for a bottle of water. I waited in line to pay behind a young woman holding a box of cereal. She stepped up to the register and quietly asked the clerk, “Is there any way you could sell me two cups of milk?”
“You have kids?” the store owner asked the customer, peering at her over the rim of her eyeglasses.
“Yes,” came the reply.
The clerk walked to the dairy case, removed a gallon of milk, and sold it to her for the price of two cups of milk. She loved like Jesus. Quietly, without expecting anything in return, she demonstrated love for a mama who needed milk so her kids would have something to eat for supper.
Then there was the man who noticed an elderly neighbor’s wobbly walk home as she clutched her plastic bags of groceries in her hands. He wanted to help her so he came up with an idea. He secretly left a collapsible rolling cart on her porch one night. A few days later, joy filled his heart when he saw his neighbor easily managing her shopping bags with his gift.
“Extraordinary love brings extraordinary joy,” says M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled.
The love we put into action rebounds back to us. It’s a paradox, but the more love we give away, the more love we have. Jesus blesses us when we love others.
Witnessing or hearing stories of loving acts also brings us joy and can create a ripple act. Please share a loving act you’ve seen or performed in the comments below. Or let us know a favorite Bible verse about love.
Readers who comment on today’s post will be entered in a drawing for this fantastic book I just finished. From Ignorance to Bliss, by Annie Yorty, is the remarkable story of a devoted mother’s journey navigating the path from birth to adulthood with her daughter, Alyssa, born with Down Syndrome. You will experience the struggles along with the triumphs, and the doubts along with God’s faithfulness. With a gentle hand and a sense of humor, Yorty teaches us much through her tenacity and advocacy for Alyssa.
I will notify the winner via email with a request for your mailing address.
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Thanks for reading! Next time, we’ll continue on with Part 3: Speaking Truthfully.
Immersed in His Love,
I loved your two stories that demonstrate loving with action. I need to open my eyes more often to those around me and allow the Lord to use me to bless others. Thank you for a lovely post!
Wonderful guidelines Candyce. So important to live a generous life for Christ. He give His all for us and we should do the same for everyone we meet.
Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne. I agree with you that we should give our all, but it’s not natural or easy.
Thanks, Candyce, for highlighting From Ignorance to Bliss. Your support blesses me.
So happy to do it. It’s an important book.
This is such an important post, Candyce. I will pass on these stories of generous love you’ve shared so the ripple effect will continue.
Thank you, Annie. Hearing about or witnessing kindness warms our heart, and we naturally want to pass that on.
“If love is kindness in action, then kindness is love in action.” I like the simplicity of this statement, and the way it makes me feel that putting love into action is something I can do. Blessings, Candyce.
Thanks, Terri! I always appreciate your feedback. I like that doing routine kindnesses for others equates with love. Love really is a verb rather than an emotion.
Blessings to you!
“Love is simple, but not easy.” I’m grateful He gives us the Holy Spirit and transforms us into His likeness or I would never be able to love with Christ’s beautiful extravagance. If I can just imitate Him just a little each day.
Tammy, that is a worthwhile goal: to grow more like God with each passing day. Thank you for your comment.
Candyce, thank you for this post. Especially where you said, The love we put into action rebounds back to us. So true.
Thank you, Sandy. Hope to see you at Blue Ridge in a few weeks!
“Watch what God does, then do it.” Love this–I just wish we could do it. The stories of love you shared are beautiful. Thank you for this uplifting message. Candyce. Blessings!
Thank you, Katherine. I hope your week away from social media was productive last week.
Candyce, I agree with Marilyn; your stories backed with Scriptures hit home. And, of course, the quote, “Extraordinary love brings extraordinary joy,” will become a mantra of mine. Thank you for sharing what God has laid on your heart; it touched mine.
Thank you, Jackie. I agree. The phrase needs to become a mantra for me too. It’s pithy, easy to remember, and resonates.
Candayce, this compels me to love generously through God’s love living in me. Jeus has been speaking to me about joy and I’ll remember, “extraordinary love brings extraordinary joy”. Thanks for sharing.
Lisa, I’m working to remember that just as we shouldn’t hide our light under a bushel, neither should we hide our love for others. It needs to be active and loud, which is sometimes hard for a reserved person like myself.
You related to that quote, huh? I’m sure we’ve all experienced the extraordinary joy that extraordinary love brings. My goal is to be more active with the love I “feel.” Thanks so much, Marilyn!
Loved the development of the topic with scripture and stories. Filing away your quote “extraordinary love brings extraordinary joy”.