I spent the weekend at my parents’ house, hanging out with my 13-year old brother while they are enjoying Las Vegas. There is not a lot for Jake and I to enjoy together since we are about as different as they come, in season of life, age, gender, interests, etc. So I binged watched crappy television. In 24 hours, I watched four episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and four episodes of Scandal. That’s almost 8 hours of television. I had a lot to catch up on. I was able to sit still and just watch television, either as a consequence of my addictive personality or pure exhaustion. As I cuddled with a warm blanket and a cup of coffee on the couch and watched the latest episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I was reminded of our world’s view of love. Each episode had examples of unfaithfulness, manipulation, terrible communication, anger, jealously and utter selfishness. After watching four episodes, I had two conclusions to draw 1) Meredith wears a lot of J.Crew and 2) The relationships on this show, specifically Meredith and Derek are a prime example of how not to be in a relationship.
I crawled off the couch and up to my bedroom (which is an ice box, I’m glad I don’t have to spend another winter living in it), situated myself under the two big blankets and opened up Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself study on the fruit of the Spirit. This week I’ve been learning about love, specifically agape.
Agape is patient, kind, and hopeful; it perseveres, trusts, protects and never fails. Agape is not proud or self-seeking; it does not envy, boast or delight in evil. Agape is the way God loves His people (1 Corinthians 13).
Agape is how we are capable of loving each other when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. I guess I should not be surprised that the way love is depicted on television is so contrary to love of God, these characters are not saved, or even real for that matter, but oh how it still burdens my heart. We are chosen by God; He has loved us with an everlasting love, and how do we know that? Jesus. As the prime example of agape, God sent Jesus to save those who would call on His name and proclaim faith in Him, and die for the sins of the world. That level of love is not self-seeking.
My heart longs for this agape love. Love that calls me to come as I am. Love that would run a long distance to meet me. Love that casts out fear and never fails. And yet, I settle for trashy television love. Love that I can manipulate to meet my needs. Love that competes and boasts. These two types of love cannot co-exist. Week two of the Beth Moore study reminded me that Spirit and flesh are in conflict with one another, meaning in ability to exist together.
God loves me already, fully. When I walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing God to live through me, I am capable of loving others the way that God loves them, and not like the way of the world. God longs for me to experience more than the hot and cold love that we see on television each day. He longs to remind me that he knows me and loves me just the same. He loves me with a love that does, never stops, and never fails, I just have to step into and accept it, saying no to the false substitutes that this world will use to entice me.