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  • Writer's pictureKristen Cole

Wear Love


As I scrolled through Facebook, a similar picture to the one above caught my eye. My dear friend, Heather, my Elijah friend, my fellow journey-mate on this writing adventure, had picked almost an identical crown to grace the top of her most recent post on her blog. I began thinking more about what I had previously written on this “wearing love,” new insights and stirrings filling my mind.

Love. What does it look like to wear it?

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) The Message

This scripture called out to me last Sunday, after a challenging Sunday School lesson last week based on the book of James. James calls on us to not only hear the truth, but to put that truth into action. He talks about facing trials as a part of the expectation of being called a follower of Christ. He talks about how one cannot really know the depth of our character until they see how we react under pressure (NIV Life Application Study Bible commentary on James 1:2,3). He explores favoritism and provides a contrast between the poor and the rich, saying,

“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? 

Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. (James 2:1-6 NIV)

This got me thinking about that crown…that beautiful crown that may have even invited you into this post.

I took a look at a to read a little bit more about the symbolism of the crown in biblical times, though I thought I already knew…As expected, the crown was defined as an emblem of power and legitimacy, of transcendent authority among monarchs and rulers throughout history. Only worn by those in high position, the crown was a visible identifier that the wearer was important, set apart, powerful.

Timely, as the Olympics are currently underway, the definition went on to talk about the crown that might adorn the winner of a race as being a symbol of great accomplishment and personal glory. Not to downplay the tremendous accomplishment of the victor, but worth noting when we look into Revelation chapter four.

This scene describes the visualization of the glory of God in all of His power, faithfulness, intelligence and sovereignty…the true King and one deserving of crown adorning. In this scene, where heaven is depicted, the 24 elders (who probably represent all those who are redeemed of the Lord – from my NIV Study bible) fall prostrate on the ground before God and lay down their crowns of golden personal glory. At that moment, personal glory trades up for the love and redemption of Christ.

But that is not how it is in our present day, a sharp visible contrast between the rich and the poor, those wearing expensive suits versus those wearing rags. Just how do we live differently in this world wrought with favoritism, golden crowns of power, prestige, upper rank and status?

First, we have to realize that we may need to trade in our own crowns of personal glory for crowns of love…

Do you happen to remember Rahab, from the book of Joshua? She was a prostitute. Some references call her a “harlot,” certainly any descriptive word chose for this woman bore shame. She was not well-respected and her very way of making a living was through active and unrepentant sinning.

I imagine her house, noted to be within the city wall, to be somewhat flashy and something I might honestly, judge. I imagine it not to be a place I would have chosen to stop by and ask for help. I imagine I may have chosen to walk on the other side of the street, staying away and not even glancing her way. I imagine I may even have had ill thoughts of her chosen lifestyle. I imagine I may not even realize that she…was one of the least of these…that Jesus talks about…and God chose HER to be a part of His plan in leading Joshua and the entire nation in to the promised land.

Joshua sent two spies to go ahead of him to scout out the city of Jericho so that Joshua and his troops could best strategize defeat on their quest to reach the promised land of Canaan. Joshua, their fearless, strong and courageous leader…sent then to ask a prostitute…for help in saving their entire tribe/nation!

The two spies did just that. The knocked on Rahab’s door, asked for her help…and low and behold, she, the harlot, the prostitute, played a very instrumental part in the Israelite victory over Jericho. Rahab not only advised the spies, but she also hid them from their enemies who also happened to be servants of her king.

Rahab, one of the least of these…one who may just have shown up in the church in rags, only to be turned away…was used by God in mighty mighty ways because of her obedience to Him, not because of her golden earthly shiny diamond ridden crown…God sees the person, the heart…not what we see.

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” (Ephesians 5:1-2) The Message

My love is very cautious. I don’t want to be hurt. I don’t want to be lied to, disappointment, put down, discouraged. I don’t want to give my love to those who might just try to destroy me. I don’t want to give my heart to those who may very well break it…or worse, have already broken it…I don’t want to walk on the same side of the street, even…as a prostitute, a person who looks much different from me on the outside. I am afraid. I am protective. I am a walking ball of fear.

I must realize that I am but a version of Rahab, myself. I am a sinner. I am no different…wearing my jewels, my gold…desperately needing to throw down my own glory crown at my Savior’s feet.

There is nothing, simply nothing…that I can do to make God love me or to even try to love others the way He does. I remember the first and second of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39) NIV

Loving God truly, wholly and completely means seeing others through His lens. When we keep the first and second of all commandments, we keep all the rest, for they all hinge on love. Rather than looking at the exterior, the polish, the smooth skin, the best clothes, the outer appearance… God looks at the heart…and He loves. He loves the prostitutes, the liars, the cheaters, the evil-doers, the rascals, the Rahabs and even me…

What would it look like if we all wore love. What if our exterior was that inviting? What if we dressed in love cloaks and love crowns with a peace-filled welcoming demeanor on our faces…the words coming out of our very mouths…always loving, uplifting…always thinking the very best? What would that be like?

I have a cautious love. But God does not. And thank goodness he doesn’t! Ephesians 5:1-2 has the answer…we are to watch and study God, keep company with him…observe him…if we want to love like he does.

It’s actually rather simple. We take off our glory crowns and we trade them for love crowns.  We are sons and daughters of a King, a King whose entire message begins and ends with love.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 from The Message, sums love up so simply…

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

Wear love. Let us not be cautious in our sharing the greatest gift we have been given, the love of Christ.

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