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Love…a heart or a cross?

In elementary Sunday school, we are working on the virtue “friendship.”  The kids and I were working on a devotional yesterday pertaining to friendship…it was about love.  And like usual it struck a question in my soul…how do I view love?

In our study we drew a big red heart on the board and wrote all the things that the ‘heart’ represented to us, such as: love, kindness, candy (Danner), nothing bad, no sadness, friends, happiness, etc  And then we drew a cross on the board and likewise wrote what it meant to us, such as: death, Jesus, sadness, sin, evil, scared, worry, painful.  The difference shocked me.  The cross is the greatest act of love God has shown us, yet it is viewed with such sorrow.  It is a reminder of who we are without Jesus…it is a reminder of what all unbelievers carry around with them, because Jesus’ sacrifice is not real to them, so they must carry their own crosses without hope.  Yet, I can choose to carry that same cross daily and allow it to weigh me down just the same.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)  He is being honest with us.  Yes, we will have hardships, daily…but through the cross He has taken up those hardships and overcome them just as we overcome them with His joy, grace, mercy, love.  Jesus also tells us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  Go through the hardships and trials because they will come anyways, don’t spend time fighting them, persevere, and by following Him (closely) we will experience that joy, peace, love (fruits of the Spirit) that He so freely gives because He overcame the cross.  

So all that is left of the cross is love.  He is The Overcomer…so we don’t have to be…we can be the receivers of all His goodness if we choose to accept it.

Dear Father-

Thank You for Your ultimate act of love, for sending Your Son to overcome all of our hardships so we may pass through them knowing our Great Reward is You!  Let us cling to You and Your fruits and not to the emptiness of this world.  I lift up anyone who does not have an exceedingly abundant relationship with You…that they may lift up their cross and exchange it for the cross You overcame.  Praise Your Holy Name!  I love You!

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