Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.~John 15:13 NIV
Don’t you just love receiving an unexpected love-note or message of encouragement from a friend? I sure do.
It is at stressful times in life that a message of encouragement can come in like a fresh breeze from heaven, lift my spirit, and fill my sails to move again. Those precious words touch my heart and feel like love.
But if truth be told, there is another type of message that I also need to hear that is unpleasant. I recoil at the thought of being admonished, rebuked, or corrected.
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor detest His correction, for whom the LORD loves, He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he loves.~Proverbs 3:11 NKJV
In retrospect, however, it is those excruciatingly painful messages that often carry the greatest love. Those words shine a spotlight on a faulty belief, bad attitude, or<gulp> an unconfessed sin. They are lifelines from heaven, that spare me from receiving a burn, or going over a cliff.
It is love that reaches down to me in the pit, and not only whispers that I am going to be alright, but is willing to lower a rope, reach down into the muck, and pull my bloodied and broken body up to safety.
It is a love with arms held wide–wide enough to be outstretched upon a cross.~Julie Souza Bradley Lilly, contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships
It is love that sees me bruised and covered with filth. Love runs to the well to draw pure water, pours it out upon me, and binds up my wounds.
And it’s love that shouts caution to me to turn around when I am going the wrong way, or whose hand takes firm grasp of my arm to snatch me away from danger.
It can be painful and embarrassing. But it is the most precious of loves. It is a love with arms held wide–wide enough to be outstretched upon a cross. Love that is willing to risk misunderstanding, bear rejection, and carry guilt, shame, and the cost, so I can walk clean, free, and unencumbered.
A sharp sting is a blessing if it spares us from death.
How grateful I am for love like that.
Have you experienced that kind of love?
Father God, give me a heart like Yours. Help me to hear love in Your correction. Soften my heart so as to be molded, and not broken, by its message. Expand my love for others, so, likewise, I will be willing to say and do the hard, yet necessary things, in love.
In humility, may I consider others more highly than myself, and be willing to sacrifice my own comfort to save another from harm. Lord, it is in direct opposition to my flesh, yet it is in perfect alignment with the work of the cross.
Teach me how to love with THAT kind of love–not just a feel-good love, but a real love that is willing to risk great personal loss, for the hope of eternal, unselfish gain.
Thank You for loving me with THAT kind of love.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Copyright 2021: That Kind of Love: Julie Souza Bradley Lilly: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
JULIE SOUZA BRADLEY LILLY
Julie Souza Bradley Lilly is the writer of Prayers of a Ragamuffin Warrior, a self-professed chief-cook-and-bottle-washer at Gift of Thorns Facebook ministry.
She is a devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More, specializing in the area of prayer, and a contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
When asked about who she is, Julie is quick to tell you she is a worshipper, a servant, blessed wife, step-mom of four adult children, caregiver, retired chiropractor, writer, and most-importantly, a forgiven daughter of God. With thirty-plus years in healthcare, Julie is passionate about seeing the broken come to receive healing and find wholeness in right-relationship with the Creator. Through her own multiple injuries and PTSD, a traumatic brain injury and other health concerns, she has found the generosity of God to be true to His Word in turning all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
For those entrusted with a thorn in the flesh, one of Julie’s greatest joys is to see the discovery of the treasure the Father hides, tucked in among the thorns. Julie shares that God is good and His mercies endure forever. It is Julie’s prayer that the body of believers will honor the Lord and encourage one another toward wholeness, spiritual growth, and mountain-moving faith.
For more encouragement, visit Julie’s websites. At Prayers of a Ragamuffin Warrior, Julie shares encouraging articles with prayers. At Gift of Thorns, Julie and her contributor team share powerful and life-changing input, inspiring readers to passionately pursue God.
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