Like . . Love's Worst Enemy

"I want to be liked." 

There. I'd said it. 

It was the morning Winsome would begin. My leadership team, all dear friends, and I were sitting together for devotions, and I was baring my heart. I do that a lot, sometimes maybe too much. But I'm finding the best way to "defang" my monsters is to call them out.

"I want you to like me. I want the women who attend this weekend to like me too. I want them to like Winsome. But I'm seeing how like gets in the way of love."

Early that morning my insecurities and I had wrestled. Think ugly, hair-pulling, unfair, hit-below-the-belt kind of wrestling. 

But I won. With some help. From God.

He spoke these words to my heart, "Like gets in the way of love." 

Then He proceeded to explain, and now I was sharing with my friends.

My ego's insatiable desire to be liked and affirmed . . . 

Keeps me from loving others. 
If I'm worried about whether or not you like me, I'm not thinking at all about how I can best love you.

Muddies my agenda and replaces God's glory with mine. 
What may start off with pure motives (like hosting a retreat to help women discover joy) get's way off track when I start being consumed with the approval of those I'm serving instead of Him who has called me to serve.

Makes my work ten times harder than it really is. 
God has asked me to do some pretty difficult things, but He promises to always equip and supply me with everything I need. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that doesn't include man's approval. When I start focusing on being liked, I've just added a whole new list of requirements and tasks to what He has told me to do. And due to the whims and constant changes of human nature, I'm definitely not guaranteed success.

Blinds me to the love of God and the love of His body. 
This is probably the most important. When I am concerned first with being liked, I forget how much I am loved and always accepted by my Father. I also become dull to the many ways the Body of Christ is loving me. I embrace and believe the worst and anything that threatens me being unequivocally liked, and I find it hard to believe the truth about love.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to hear, rehearse, and believe criticism or perceived disapproval, yet how difficult it can be to accept and believe that you are loved? That's like getting in the way of love.

Oswald Chambers said, "The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best."

Trying to be "good" enough for God is the most futile endeavor a person could ever embark upon. I will never be good enough. Yet when I abandon my own efforts to be good, I am left with the reality of my sin that requires a remedy, and I am rescued by the grace of the Gospel.

In a similar way, like is such a tempting substitute for love. But just like attempts to be good enough, like always falls short. 

Love, on the other hand, is birthed by grace and transcends human effort. It emanates from the giver and the more it looks like God's love, the more power it has to heal and transform lives.

Like is not only love's worst enemy, but it's a sloppy counterfeit.

With like out of the way, I walked into the weekend ready and equipped to love. It was way easier!

Like still likes to get in the way again and trip me up in my efforts to love. But it's getting easier to sweep her aside. Like is fickle, temperamental, and weak.

But love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

I'm linking up with Holley, Emily, Jennifer & friends at . . . 

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