Practicing love... I've been on a crazy diet. For the whole month of January. And I'm not going to go into the details here, but let's just call it Intense. (And yes, the capital 'I' is merited.) And I won't even say that at the beginning I had any spiritual motives. I did not. I simply wanted to lose weight and was willing to do anything. Anything hard.
The amount of discipline required of me for more than 4 weeks was unlike anything I've ever done, or even thought I could do. But even only days in, the spiritual 'side effects' became blaringly real. There was a clarity of mind that came when suddenly I was confronted with my addiction and craving for food. And it was because in clearing out an idol I was making room. Room to love Him. And He took *His* rightful place. I didn't start my journey to find Him even more, but I quickly realized that my perspective had been misshapen.
So as the days passed, the cravings became Him. His Word. His work in my life. And suddenly I'm training with the hard discipline of an athlete. I was hungry. Practicing love becomes true love when I put my flesh in the grave.
"For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:5-6
My flesh was gnawing away at my heart... and winning. So now I realize what I was missing. And this heart on fire keeps digging away at open wounds that need to be healed by some Spirit-filled-ness. And it hurts. Putting a name on sin, allowing it to be opened and scraped away by a loving God is a painful process. But He's talking, speaking volumes, and I'm listening because suddenly I can hear. Practicing love is pushing through the pain to bring Him glory.