August 16, 2011
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 (NIV)
I'm a killer. Yes, you read that right. I'm laying it out there and admitting it. Although, it's probably not what you think ... I've been a friendship-killer for much of my life.
I've wondered if it is from my dysfunctional home life as a kid. We moved annually, which meant a different school every year until I was a teenager. For an extremely shy girl this was terrifying. Dread and cold sweats came the night before I had to face another new classroom, new stares, new whispers and new giggles.
The layers built up; I figured it didn't really matter if classmates liked me because I probably wouldn't be there long anyway. Occasionally I would open up just a bit. Then Mom would say, "Pack up," and along with the boxes, my heart would seal up too.
It just hurt too much to hope that friendships could ever last. I was certain they couldn't, so I killed them before they ever developed deep. End it now before I'm too invested, was my mindset.
Maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we don't need to open up and risk the pain of rejection or the devastation of potential loss.
Girlfriend, let me tell you what I discovered. The apostle John paints a portrait of a warm, real Jesus. Through that portrait Jesus reached out to me. He came into my heart and at that moment the love of the Savior began changing my life. I now have a greater love. I have found the same living water that Jesus offered to the woman at the well in the gospel of John.
It's been a spring welling up to eternal life! And I've discovered that when you begin to live that effervescent life, it becomes contagious! The joy that bubbles up from the inside cannot be hidden. Others are drawn to you and wonder how you can have joy in all circumstances.
And then it happens. Friendships develop. The old me would shut down, walk away or sabotage a relationship. I just didn't think I had what it takes to keep a friendship alive and healthy. And I don't, but God does. The new me embraces friends!
Maybe you've struggled with friendships. God crossed our paths today on purpose. He is asking us to take a risk. Let your guard down and love, as He loved us.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me and teaching me how to welcome friends into my life with a greater love. Open my mind to see beyond myself today and take the risk of relationships built on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
When a Woman Meets Jesus: Finding the Love Every Woman Longs For by Dorothy Valcarcel
God's Purpose for Every Woman a Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotional Book
Read John 4. Ask God to open your heart to His greater love. Slip on your God goggles and look for hurting hearts around you today.
What relationship does God want to grow in my heart?
When will I take the risk?
How can I reach out to someone with greater love today?
Matthew 19:19b "...love your neighbor as yourself." (NIV)
Luke 6:27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you." (NIV)
© 2011 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 16 August 2011.