A Time to Wait: Love is more than an obligation - Word&Way

A Time to Wait: Love is more than an obligation

Today's Scripture: Revelation 2:1-5  (read)

Greg HuntImagine this scene: A husband and wife sit at the breakfast table, the husband's face hidden behind the sports section of the local newspaper. The wife tries to carry on a conversation. All she gets in response are grunts and one-word replies. Exasperated, she finally asks, "Do you still love me?"

The husband lowers the paper. "Of course, I love you!" he replies. "I told you I loved you the day we married. If it ever changes, I'll let you know." Lifting the paper between them again, he turns back to his reading.

It's a ridiculous scene, right? Everyone knows that love isn't something you check off your to-do list, once and for all. Love is a living, breathing thing. It's a fire you keep kindled. When two people truly love each other, they find ways to demonstrate it every day. Their love moves them to express appreciation, show affection and devote quality time to one another. It translates into "just-because" gifts and unsolicited acts of kindness.

What's true of human love is also true of our love for God. Love for God is about the ways we stay head over heels for the one who "demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Those to whom today's Bible passage was first written forgot this. Sometimes we do too. Down in the details, demands and duties of everyday life, our relationship with God can become an exercise in obligation. We can do something about this.

We can remember the best of times in our love for God and allow those memories to spin us around (v. 5). In worshipful praise, we can renew the wonder, gratitude and passion that once energized our faith.

May we never forget what God wants most from us – our hearts!

Greg Hunt is president of Directions Inc., and the author of Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night: What to Do When God Won't Answer.

This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.

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