Monday, July 27, 2009

By Our Love

When people talk about you, how do they describe you? Aside from physical descriptors, what do people say to identify you? How are you known or remembered by others?

These are some of the thoughts I've had lately since listening to an incredible song by Christy Nockels called "By Our Love." How do people know who I am? Does this fit with who I want people to know me by - are my actions lining up with what my values, beliefs, and goals are? When I think about this, I have to take a hard look at myself. It's a difficult question. If I'm being honest with myself, I'm not quite sure what the answer is.

The question gets harder when I think about some of the people I'm around all the time or people I'm not trying to impress, so to speak - coworkers, customer service agents, the lady in front of me at the store. Who would these people say I am? God calls us to be salt and light to the world, and that they would know who we (Christians) are by our love. Is this what I am reflecting? I don't think I can fully answer that just yet, but it's something I need to consider more deeply and maybe even ask others for honest feedback (and then be willing to accept it). If I am not known for (God's) love, then I am not living as Christ called me to live.

Here are the lyrics to the song, "By Our Love" by Christy Nockels, for your reflection...

Brothers, let us come together
Walking in the Spirit, there's much to be done...
We will come reaching, out from our comforts
And they will know us by our love...

Sisters, we were made for kindness
We can pierce the darkness as He shines through us...
We will come reaching, with a song of healing...
And they will know us by our love!

The time is now
Come Church arise...
Love with His hands
See with His eyes...
Bind it around you,
Let it never leave you,
And they will know us by our love...

Children, You are hope for justice,
Stand firm in the Truth now, set your hearts above
You will be reaching, long after we’re gone,
And they will know you by your love!

Written by Christy Nockels
© 2009 Songs / sixsteps Music (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing) (ASCAP)

UPDATE: God has something else for this post. I had a dream tonight that was clearly an important message for me to share. The gist of it was that I had been building a project for a client/customer, and was explaining the importance of using the right tools and having the right blueprints for the job. I remember saying something like, "If the project is built with the right tools from the right plans, then people will know you by your love - and be changed." The implications were that seeing the world a very specific way and living a very intentional way produces a very distinctive fruit that changes people's lives because it is the way God designed it (and how Jesus modeled and commanded it) to be. The outcome of the product I had built was seen and experienced by the client in such a powerful way that he was moved to live differently. What a powerful message!


ellentopness said...

First, I love the idea of wondering how I present (as far as love) to people I'm NOT trying to impress. Kind of scary to think about.You made me think, which I'm not sure I like (smile).

I like your writing style, and I do love how you share songs (I know have that song on my lala playlist, which you also introduced me to through your blog).

I do believe that love is how we show God to the world, and I also believe that "the greatest of these" is not always easy to live.

But, sometimes it makes my soul heavy to read about ways we are not living Christ. I think that if Jesus was the only perfect one, we can just accept and admit to imperfection and keep trying without giving up, knowing, as my friend Aaron reminded me in another entry, that it was finished on the cross. My true attempts to love well are covered in grace, and the times I don't, I can confess and know that my behavior was forgiven and covered 2000 years ago. I guess I was struggling with your statement "if I am not known for (God's) love, then I am not living as Christ called me to live". I wholeheartedly accept that it is true Christ calls us to be known by His love pouring out of us. I just think
to blanket it with the "I am not living as Christ called me to live" makes it sound so much more like duty and work and impossible. I would rather think that as I continue to seek Him and continue to attempt to obey His commands and learn to love, my life will become more like the life Christ desires us to live. And pursuing Him and learning to love and give self and others grace is exactly the life He called us to live.

I love your blog!!!!

Aaron said...

Thanks for your feedback and interesting thoughts, Ellen! Having others interact makes this blog so much more interesting than just my monologues. :-)

It's so interesting to me how other can people read and experience things so differently! It really makes conversations and relationships come alive. My intention of that statement "if I am not known for (God's) love, then I am not living as Christ called me to live" was to make the point that I will be remembered as either (1) a "little Christ," or (2) as myself. If I'm truly being honest, then I fall into #2 way too often. This should move me to repentance and surrender of self so that God can do His work in me (rather than me trying to do His work).

This is the eternal struggle - to die to ourselves so that Christ can live in us. It's through this narrow passage way alone that we can be known for our love. There's nothing we can do apart from Christ that is satisfying to God other than humbling ourselves so He can be glorified. (This sort of connects with the Psalm 136 post I wrote a while back.)

Great discussion, Ellen! Keep it coming! :-D

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