By Cheryl McCloud
We often find ourselves thinking of love in February. Of course, Valentine candy and decorations that hit store shelves before Christmas items are even put away probably affect our thoughts.
Something I read recently gave me a different focus. A character was reflecting on his wedding vows, specifically those "to love and to cherish."
We think we know what love is, that special feeling we have for our spouse or our children. Becoming a Christian gives us a different perspective of love, that God loved us so much that He gave His son for us ... while we were yet sinners. That sort of sacrificial love is difficult to imagine.
But have you ever thought about cherishing?
To cherish means to cultivate with care and affection. That means that, just like love, it takes action on our part.
I really like gardening and seeing beautiful flowers makes me smile and just generally make me feel good. I start off with such energy. I prepare the hanging pots, get my seeds or seedlings in, find just the right spot, water diligently for several days and then ... a few weeks later, I'm greeted by wilted plants. What happened?!
My enthusiasm waned. I got busy with the everyday schedule of life, moving from one thing to the other. Bottom line: I neglected them.
How often in our Christian walk does this happen? When we first accept Christ as our Savior, we dive into the Word. Our prayer life is robust. We spend time daily listening to what God has to say and just sitting in His presence.
To love and to cherish requires effort. Both require time. They demand setting priorities. It's something I struggle with regularly. Too often, I find myself running from one thing to another. And while praying constantly is a good thing, if my prayer time is always while I'm doing other things -- washing dishes, driving, putting away laundry -- my focus isn't totally on Him.
It's a daily challenge. We're bombarded constantly with distractions that will pull us away from God. And those "distractions" aren't always bad things. We may be helping someone in need. Meeting the daily demands of our jobs. Caring for young children.
But what happens when we neglect time when He is totally our focus? How would you feel if the only time you had with your spouse was when they were doing something else? Would you feel cherished?
Set your priority on Him. Spend time with Him every day. Don’t believe the enemy’s lies that there isn’t enough time in the day to just sit in God’s presence. Spend time with Him and feel cherished. There’s no other feeling like it.
1 Cor. 13:4-5
“Love is patient love is kind. It does not envy, it odes not boast,
it is not proud. It doe not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps norecord of wrongs.”