This is the final month of my L.E.A.P. Year (Feb. 29, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017), and that brings me to LOVE.
As I review the year and look at my words, this phrase came to mind, “beyond all these, put on love“. Col. 3:14
When I originally prayed over and chose the words for this year, “LOVE” came to mind because I knew my year would end in February with Valentine’s Day (not too “spiritual”), but after the excess of candy, hearts, chocolate, and holiday marketing that began shortly after Christmas, I was hardly in the mood.
But all that changed after I read the context of the phrase the Holy Spirit brought to mind in Colossians 3, “put on…
- a heart of compassion
- bearing with one another
- forgiving each other
- … beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity”
“… and the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13)
Love is the best place to begin, or end. any year of living, a 366 day leap year or not. 1 Corinthians 13 sums up why so well. Love is the “perfect bond” because all of these commanded qualities are characteristics of true love.
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, these words are in danger of sounding trite and cliché:
“…without love, I am nothing… it profits me nothing.”
patient, kind, not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant/proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, forgives/keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices in the truth, protects/bears all things, trusts/believes all things, always hopes, always perseveres/endures…
“Live a life of LOVE”… “Walk in LOVE” (Ephesians 5:2) Love others as Christ loves you. — For me, this is what it means to L.E.A.P. (to live, enjoy, add, and pray) in LOVE.
LIVE in love. Loving others becomes easier when I am ENJOYing the love of God! The more of His love I ADD to any situation or in any relationship, the more it multiplies, like a seed planted that keeps reaping more and more. PRAYing is just a pouring out of my love back to God in response to His love for me and then pouring out my concerns for the people I love.
I picture “walking in love”, as moving with a spring in my step, running, skipping, and dancing in Him; because I am so filled up and bubbling over with His love!
To LEAP is to “Live and move and have my being” in Him (Acts 17:28); to be as the lame beggar that was healed, to go “walking and leaping and praising God” (Acts 3:8).
With LOVE as the theme of this is the last month, it feels like the culmination of themes of all the previous 11 months.
LOVE means being attentive. LOVE is the ultimate beauty (internal, physical, abstract, and tangible). LOVE is intentional. Through nature we see God’s LOVE for us and is even richer when we slow down to enjoy it with someone special. LOVE is generous. LOVE is patient. Though it is not particularly “easy”, LOVE is simple, and is often best expressed in the simplest ways. LOVE finds the humor in life. LOVE can be quiet. LOVE is thankful. LOVE is displayed in actions (not just words).
SO, I’m wrapping this month up with a little bit of everything: taking photos, making lists, giving gifts, spending moments outside, … I’m reviewing all the months and incorporating versions of my favorite challenges, expecting this to be the best month for me personally. My goal is to show the LORD and the people in my family that I LOVE them every day in a special way.
I know these LEAP Year posts really were written for myself, but I bother to type them out and share them because I want to encourage you to BE CREATIVE. Do your own thing! Plan something special to mark your days and seek the LORD in a unique, “just-between-you-and-Him” way.
The 29th of each month has been a series of quiet, reflective days for me that have helped me to begin the coming month with a holy purpose. The calendar is full of holidays, new seasons, birthdays, and special days just waiting as invitations for a fresh start with a secret “holy-day” between you and the LORD.
If you’re reading this sentence, I’m praying for you. May you find a special way to show the LORD and the people in your life that you love them each day this month. And, may the LORD show YOU that He loves YOU in memorable ways, too!