Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Command



Love one another.

I hear groans. And sighs. And maybe someone muttering. I know what you're thinking.

"Jesus freak."
"Bible thumper."
"Do-gooder."
"Self-righteous zealot."

But I'm the guy who cringes when someone drops random Bible verses in conversation. I'm the guy who always feels awkward when someone says they're praying for me. I'm the guy who feels strangely ill-at-ease when sharing in the kiss or hand of peace.

My faith is personal. My relationship with God is personal. Just as I wouldn't tell you every intimate detail of my other personal relationships, I don't feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of my faith.

Not that my faith is special. Not that I have some special connection with God. Or that I understand some mystery or some secret revealed only to me. I believe none of that. If anything I know less. If anything, my relationship is utterly common. If anything, my faith is weaker than most. It's just extremely personal.


So I'm not going to share my faith. I'm not going to tell you about my relationship with God. I'm not going to brag about all God has done for me. I'm not going to prove God in my life. I claim no special bond.

I'm going to talk about the same thing I always talk about. About the word that's as much a part of this blog as food. It's the same word I've been writing about for 3 years. Beating around the bush, hinting at. It's the word two millennial ago, a carpenter gave to a band of followers: Love one another. And love is what I'm talking about.

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Love isn't personal. It's not private. Love is action, love is power, love is a motivator. I always know in my heart what love is, I always recognize when I'm acting with love, cooking with love, speaking with love.

And when it's not love, deep down I know that too. I claimed to know love, but I really just craved personal fame and attention. I claimed to love others, but loved myself more. I claimed to put love first, but hid my mistakes and lashed out in defensiveness. I was hateful, prideful, gossipy, lustful, greedy, gluttonous.

Real love would have compelled me. But I deceived myself. Real love would have motivated me to action, but I rejected what I didn't like. Real love brings clarity, but I always felt turmoil.

I share the tools I love. I share ingredients I love. I share recipes I love. And so I will share this love I love. It's not a love that sits in the background, ignored, until it can produce a profit. It's not a love that can be put away when it's inconvenient or hauled out when I need something to talk about. This love doesn't pay in money or fame or followers. But this love is real.

This love comes without any strings. I don't have to do something to get this love, I don't have to keep a list of commands to earn this love. It's free. It's no trick, it's no lie, it's not a bunch of smoke and mirrors. And once this love enters, it's like a firecracker. Impossible to contain.

This love creates new life. A new person with new motivations. Motivations like joy, peace, contentment, kindness, humility, gentleness, thankfulness. A life, filled with this love, so utterly, so completely new. And so much easier than the old life. Not physically, not financially - but mentally.

Everything bad in me - gone. I'm not speaking metaphorically. I literally mean, that all the wrong motives are wiped out. All the greed and lies and cravings eliminated. This love, this real love, abolishes everything awful, clean slate.

Fame-whore? Who cares about fame. Vain narcissist? Who cares about this deteriorating body. Money-hungry? Who needs wealth. Self-indulgent glutton? What do I care about my own satisfaction. And right when a craving begins (and they do claw back to the surface), this love, this REAL love that I love so much, squashes it out. Because this real love, loves.

You already know what this love is, don't you? You at least suspect. You've been thinking it ever since you read the first sentence. And you're just waiting for me to own up to it and tell you. To say the one name that will confirm your suspicions that I really am just what you knew I was.

I'll say it. This real love is Jesus Christ.


Oh, stop. I didn't say anything about you asking Jesus into your heart (I wouldn't anyway). I didn't say anything about joining a church. I didn't say anything about creating a personal relationship with God. I'm talking about the love I love. And the love I love is Jesus.

I didn't run off and join a cult. I haven't just been "saved". I'm not all high on endorphins. I'm not here to win people. I don't think I'm better than anyone. I don't think I know something just for me. I'm not here to set you straight. I'm not here to ask you to follow a religion or donate money or do ANYTHING.

I'm just here, on this planet, for love. By love. Because of love. It's like waking up after a dream, where you've been the naughtiest child on the planet, and you're staring through a barred window at the most impossibly giant holiday tree buried under a mountain of gifts. And you know none of the gifts - not even one - is yours. Because you don't deserve them. You don't even deserve coal. And that's when you suddenly wake up - and the mountain of gifts is really there. Only it's an even bigger mountain, even more gifts. And they're not for someone else - they're all yours. Despite how utterly naughty you've been. Despite not even deserving coal.

And you can't help yourself. You know it's not possible, you know you deserve none of it. And that's when you feel it. The love. The real love inside, welling up, driving you, humbling you. That's why I can't contain myself. That's why I have to share. I just can't contain this love.



More from this series


14 comments:

  1. Beautifully written, and so well said!

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  2. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)June 26, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I love this post. I also feel like faith is personal and tend to cringe when people constantly name drop Jesus, etc. And yeah, I agree with you on all counts. <3 Love

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  3. I won't take any credit. Anything good I might end up knowing doesn't come from me ;) I am so pleased you enjoyed, April, and thank you for the kind words...

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  4. Thank you for the kind words, Kayle. I always know people mean well and so I really try not to let myself react negatively because I don't think that would be very loving ;) But it does often make me uncomfortable.

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  5. Jody_thehobbyroomdiariesJune 27, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I, too, am not a fan of Jesus being pushed at me/others, but my faith is a huge part of my life, so I struggle with knowing if I'm being pushy. So I totally get where you're coming from and I think you put your beliefs out there in a really comfortable way. This post makes your blog much more meaningful because the love you talk about is the real deal. Really nicely written!

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  6. Thank you for the kind words, Jody... And I'm fortunate to have stumbled over the right words. I am glad it makes my blog more meaningful - and it certainly has changed my perspective on so many areas...

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  7. Just lovely. I wandered over from Kim's blog after reading her Burning Down the Kitchen interview with you. So glad I did.

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  8. Thanks so much for dropping by and I had such a great time working with Kim on the BDTK interview. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and I'm humbled by all the kind feedback everyone has given. I really can't take credit for anything good in the post tho - but I feel very blessed...

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  9. I've seen you around and had heard the name Javelin Warrior, but I had never come wandering over to your blog. I think because now was the right time so I could read your post. I don't share your belief system, but I respect it, and I really do think it all comes down to love, too. Thanks for sharing a part of your heart. I'll be seeing you! :)

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  10. Well I'm very happy to have met you and I had to pop over and check out your site. I don't think I've ever been to your blog despite all my browsing. But your chocolate stout cake sounds delicious!

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  11. Hooray for new friends! I'm glad you're now firmly on my radar! The stout cake is one of my favorites. I usually make it as a round and frost with a dark caramel-espresso buttercream, but I busted out some vanilla porter and made toffee to top the Bundt version. :)

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  12. The dark caramel-espresso buttercream sounds amazing... So decadent with the chocolate stout cake...

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  13. It's important to know what you know and believe, and why. Not what others think you should know or believe. Sounds like you're getting there.

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  14. I agree it's very important to examine your own beliefs and understand why they are your beliefs. And then once you know what you believe, so hold onto it an remember why you believe it... Which I think is sometimes the harder part ;)

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