The 8 reasons below aren’t the only excuses that destroy your love walk, but they’re a good start! Thinking about the love walk of the people in my past reminds me of a story.
Spring always reminds me of a time when I was a young child. I loved flowers. I used to bring flowers home for my mother — you know, the yellow weeds called Dandelions? Such gorgeous color and wonderful aroma. No matter how she responded, I loved to use flowers as an excuse to show her how much I loved her. Her reaction never damaged my love walk.
One day, when I was around seven years old, I was riding my bike in our rural neighborhood when I noticed some new flowers around a mailbox of one of our neighbors. Diversified colors of purple, yellow, and white all came together. I had never seen flowers like those before. I just knew my mother would love them. So I picked them, all of them and took them home for her in a pretty bouquet.
I don’t remember her reaction to the gift, but I do recall a phone call that soon followed my gift. It was the neighbor, in who’s yard I had gathered the flowers. When mom got off the phone, she was quite upset. It seems I had pulled up the flowers the neighbor had just planted! I didn’t know they weren’t just wild ones growing there. I remember having to apologize. The neighbor was stern with me but lovingly helped me understand the difference between free wildflowers and annuals. It was a good lesson to learn!
My mother, the neighbor lady, and I each had a different type of love walk. We played that out in our lives in various ways.
Jesus’ Love Walk
Jesus has a love walk that does not contain excuses. Through the words of Paul in Philippians 2:1-5 we have a glimpse into the character of Jesus.
1Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Before Paul even begins to explain the love walk, he tells you, the reader, to be unified with other believers, work together with one mind and one purpose. It’s important to have unity, or God’s will cannot be accomplished using your hands, your feet, your eyes, your ears, and so on. However, working together for the common goal of loving one another is the most important point.
In verses 3-5, Paul states how you can have the love walk by doing nothing out of selfish (personal) ambition, or by being conceited, but by being humble, and to care for the interests of others. When you learn about Christ’s “like-minded” love described in this passage and follow Christ’s example, you will have the love walk too.
You’re wondering, “How am I using excuses that damage my love walk? What does that look like?”
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Jesus’ love walk has always been the same – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You get encouragement from belonging to him. You receive comfort from his love. But unfortunately for you, and others around you, your love walk comes with excuses you justify. You carry your excuses around then whip them out whenever the pastor, or his wife, or a leader in your church comes to ask for your help.
I’m Better than Him
You may not say it, but you’re thinking it, or you’ve thought it in the past. The Bible says to “…be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). Getting into the Word of God helps you to refocus who you think you are in comparison to others. It reveals your pride and begins the humbling process. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but Holy Spirit is your comfort and helper. Rely on his assistance.
I Don’t Know How to Handle Her Problems
Joyce Meyer said, “When we meet people’s physical needs, it opens the door wide for us to address their spiritual needs.” I can’t agree more! You don’t have to “handle” her emotional problems, or the drama surrounding her life. Keep yourself separated from the chaos, but involved in loving her. Start by meeting her physical need and let God handle the rest.
Fear can stop you dead in your tracks. You’ve heard the phrase “he was like a deer in the headlights!” That’s because a deer will often freeze when the lights are on him. You do that too when God’s “headlights” are focused on you. You don’t know what to do or where to go because you are afraid. Fear has many faces. Your fear is much different than your neighbor’s fear. You need to search your heart and ask God to reveal what you are afraid of – what “face of fear” you are wearing — because fear for each of us comes from different places.
I Have My Own Problems
To get outside of your problems help someone else. It’s not hard to find someone whose problems are bigger or harder than yours. You have the means to help them. You will be amazed at how good you feel! You’ll also realize your problems may be smaller than you think. Helping someone else also takes the focus off your struggles. It will help you grow a thankful heart, as well.
I Don’t Have Any Money to Give
Did you know that God equips those He calls (Philippians 1:6)? Did you also know that He has called you? Yes, it’s true! He has called you to belong to Jesus Christ (Romans 1:6). Since He’s called you, he will give you the means to help someone financially. He’ll make sure that money is there! But you must be willing to obey His voice. He can’t give to hands clinging to money.
I Don’t Have Time
Most of the things that fill your schedule come from you, not from God. Make a list of all the things in which you are involved. Take some time in prayer to ask God what he is asking you to do, or not do. Then cross off what is not on God’s list. Some things may be idols you need to remove permanently. Only God knows your heart. You’ll quickly find your schedule opening up.
I’ve Never Done That Before
Listen, I have never done blogging before, but by surrendering to God, He has been able to freely use me, as well as give me everything I need to accomplish the task. Now I’m doing it but only with His help. And the more I obey, the easier it gets.
You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
I’m Too Old, or Too Young
God doesn’t see age. Think of all the people God used throughout the Scriptures. Noah was 480 years old when God asked him to build an ark; Moses was 80 years old when God spoke to him through the burning bush; Joseph was 30 years old when the king put him in administrative charge of Egypt. In the New Testament, the apostles were approximately 20-40 years old when Jesus asked them to follow him. I was forty-six when God called me into full-time ministry. Don’t let age be the excuse that damages your love walk.
Stop using excuses to ignore the work God calls you to do. The walk of love does not mean just saying “Jesus loves you” to a hurting world. Jesus walked a long road, and at the end of this path, he surrendered his life. You may have to walk a long path to surrender to God. It’s just a matter of willingness in the beginning, which grows into full submission to His will. If you are holding on tight to something, your hands are not open to receive His blessing. Open your hands; let go of the thing you are clutching. With free hands, you receive God’s blessing. With closed fists of stubbornness, you cannot receive anything.
Surrendering comes before you can walk the love walk in full freedom. For how can you show love to God and others if you haven’t first surrendered yourself? You become sanctified, by surrendering, through the Holy Spirit who then guides you in every way. Along with sanctification comes freedom to live, and move, and be, according to the Spirit of God. But, if you are using excuses to remain separated from loving others, you are certainly damaging your love walk.