The lines from the Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem came into my mind this morning as I was sitting with the Lord and reading through His Word. How do I love Thee, let me count the ways.......?
I often pray that the Lord would help me to love Him more, love Him better, but this morning I found myself thinking about the ways that I love Him. So much of our time in the church is taken up with how much He loves us - how wonderful His love is, how all sufficient - that it made me wonder - if I truly know His love how am I reciprocating? How am I loving Him back? Was His love simply a feeling, did it fill His heart but bring forth no action?
And of course the answer is no - His love was an action - His love moved Him to 'do'; His love brought Him to earth, to a life of submission and to death on a cross.
So how do I love Him, how do you love Him? Here's what I wrote this morning:
How do I love you Lord?
I spend time with You, I long to hear Your voice and I listen as You speak. I talk - I tell You about my day as if You don't know because it fills my heart with joy to share my life with You. I seek to get to know Your character because I want to please You by agreeing with You, by being like You.
I talk about You to other people because I want them to know how wonderful You are, how amazing, how lovely. I try to walk Your way, not go off on my own track - I try to put You first, care about Your reputation above my own. I love those You love and I trust that even when I cannot see the road ahead, You know the way and will lead me beside still waters. I lay aside my fears - of the dark, of the enemy, of the chaos and confusion - and I train my mind to know - really know, that You will never leave, that You have promised to stay - to stay forever.
How do I love You Lord - I call You my HOME - I expect to live in peace because You are with me - I quiet my soul - I strive for rest - I distance myself from the taunts of the enemy and I remember, I deliberately remind myself that You are with me always.
How do I love You Lord - I determine to find the joy in every moment and to share the joy with those I meet. I long to speak truth and when I cannot find the right words I trust that You will being them to my mind, for You have promised that You will. I do what I see You do - I show mercy, I dispense grace, I forgive - I take the first step to reconciliation..............
Do I manage always to love You this way? No, but I press on.........I press on to lay hold of that for which I have already been laid hold of. I press on to see Christ Jesus and to love Him as He has loved me. And the wonderful thing is that though I fail, though I miss the mark so often - You are still right there, loving me and leading me on, ever onwards, ever closer to Him.
On Tuesday as I was driving home, praying, I heard Him tell me that He wants to bless me because He loves me and because He knows that I love Him too. It brought me to tears to think that He would want me to know this - really know it deep down in my soul and then today, this morning, my heart responded again - I want to bless You too because I love You - please help me to do just that.......
May His name be ever glorified and His heart forever blessed by those who call themselves His people.