by Rhonda Rhea
… an even better way. 1 Corinthians 12:31 CSB
Confession time. Sometimes when I’m driving and realize I’m lost, I automatically turn down the radio. It’s not so I can hear the GPS. I turn down the radio even when there’s no GPS. Why do I do it? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s so I can more clearly hear what “lost” sounds like. Of course, if I had to guess what lost sounds like, I’d guess it makes an I-should-pull-in-here-for-coffee sound. If I listen hard enough, I can hear extra whip.
Want to know what else I do without thinking? I’ll be looking in the fridge for something to eat, finding nothing. So, I close the fridge and move to the pantry. Nothing there either. Then—and I can’t explain why, but—I go back to the fridge. I open it up and study every shelf again. Like I think something new will have materialized while I was in the pantry. And if that’s not ridiculous enough, I then repeat the process. Why? Fridge, pantry. Fridge, pantry. I guess my subconscious thinks that if nothing magically appeared the first couple of times, surely somewhere between the fifth or sixth round, I’ll swing open the door and: TACO.
Oh, the things I do without thinking. I’m also a notorious knee-bouncer. And a pen-clicker. These basic fidgets are part of my no-thought default setting. It makes me wonder how many other things I do on autopilot.
I’m praying the Lord will grow me to a place where those things I do without thinking will have substance, meaning, blessing—love—in exactly the right volume. In 1 Corinthians, after Paul teaches about spiritual gifts, he ends chapter 12 with the teaser, “And I will show you an even better way” (v. 31 CSB).
GPS or no, I want to head that better way. The Amplified Bible expounds on that verse: “a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love].”
Paul launches next into a beautiful description of that unselfish love—the kind of love that, in and through Christ only, can happen as naturally as a bouncing knee or an unconscious pen-click.
Look at God’s “better way:”
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (CSB).
The ever-satisfying love we hunger for is not in the fridge. Not in the pantry. Not anywhere else. Only in Christ.
The very first verse in chapter 13 tells us that sacrificial love is vital. “If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (CSB). Loveless language? That’s exactly what lost sounds like. And I want to turn down that volume. Consciously.
Meanwhile, as I’m learning to love through Jesus—a little extra conscious of the think-y part—another confession: I’ll probably still pull in for that coffee. A little too conscious of the whippy part.
Lord, teach me to listen, search for—even hunger for—opportunities to purposefully love unselfishly, simply because I love You—all and only in You. May Your love be my default as I learn to sound more like You.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.
Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!
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