Lifeblood is about Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Tapping Into Jesus as the True Source of Renewal

Out June 26

Most of us know how to express love to others, to varying degrees of success. On a crabby day, fresh from the office, nursing a cold that won't go away and then opening the door to see a bunch of crying babies (some of them in their teen years), we might not be ready to do much more than smile and head for the sofa. As humans, we're all susceptible to the physical challenges of life. And, we certainly go through the motions at times.

Yet, true love comes pouring out of a changed heart. It's not something we should manufacture in the moment, shifting from a crabby state of mind to saying a kind word to a spouse merely because that's what is called for at the time. We use the phrase "fruits of the spirit" because fruit has to be nurtured and cultivated. No one produces an apple out of thin air.

Here's an example of what this means.

I'm in the middle of tax season right now, and it is not a pretty sight. Receipts scattered all over the room, a spreadsheet running on a laptop that's helping me keep track of my expenses as a writer. Imagine for a moment that expressing love was more like doing taxes. You'd pull out a laptop and just start "expressing" them without much preparation.

For me, that's not possible. I collect receipts all year long. I save them after every work-related meal, I stuff them in my wallet after buying office supplies at Walmart. It takes time to prepare, to build the foundation. The act of doing taxes is really something that pours out of that previous effort, that hard work of saving all of my receipts. In many ways, doing my taxes is easy even though it takes several days. I can't imagine trying to manufacture my taxes without that preparation. Showing a surface-level expression of love is similar. We pull love out of a hat.

To truly show love, it's important to do the background work. As husbands, that might mean spending more time with Jesus in the morning to make sure we even understand what loves means, possibly by reading about the crucifiction or how Jesus healed someone who was sick. It might mean we spend time praying and contemplating how God is working in us to combat an anger problem or a selfish streak. We build the foundation of love, and then when the moment arises for us to show an expression of that love, it flows freely and authentically.

In my book Lifeblood, I touch on many of these same topics. We can't choose to be humble just for a period of time. Humility is not a decision we make. It is an outpouring of our inner conviction and attitude, one that involves chiseling away at pride over our entire life. In the same way, love has to pour out of our lives in a genuine way, almost without a throttle. It is really a by-product of our devotion to Christ, not a mere act to impress someone.

True kindness, true humility, true love--they are all revelations. We reveal what is happening within our own hearts and minds. There's no need to "fake it until you make it" because everyone knows the difference anyway. Love expressed in the moment as a simple attitude adjustment or as a way to hide our inner turmoil is not genuine. It's far better to let love well up inside of us as we choose to follow Christ on a daily basis. Let him love through you.

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