I'm always confessing something. It's good for me. We're instructed all over the place in the Bible to own up and change! 

This week I've had a little line from a 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd song rolling around in my head. I haven't heard the song probably since 1987, but the "I know a little 'bout love" line keeps sticking in my head.

I do know a little 'bout love. Just a little. I have experienced family and marital love and the love of close friends, love for my work and my four-legged critters, for music and reading and writing. 

That's the "little 'bout love" that I know. 

The rest of the line of the song goes, "Baby I can guess the rest."

But that's just not true. I had no way to "guess the rest" about the love I and you experience as redeemed sinners saved by sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

It's overwhelming, unfailing, never-ending. As Christians, we're called to show that same love to others. 

It varies a little bit one way or another depending on the translation you're reading, but the word "love" is mentioned more than 300 times in the Bible. 

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that as eloquent as we may be, if we don't express ourselves in love, we're nothing more than a clanging cymbal. If we're empowered with knowledge and powerful faith but yet never learned to love, we're nothing. If we give everything away, even our lives — if we do that without the motivation of pure love, it means nothing. 

Think on that!

Verse 4 of the same chapter describes love as large and incredibly patient, gentle and kind to all. It's not jealous. It doesn't brag, it doesn't put others down to make itself look good. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.

Love, says verse 6, "joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong." Love is safe shelter and never stops believing in others. Love never gives up.

Yes, I love the "love chapter," where verse 8 says perfect love never stops, it goes beyond everything and lasts longer than anything.  Verse 13 sums it up telling us faith, hope and love outlast everything — and love surpasses them all. 

There's no need at all to "guess the rest" about love. It's non-negotiable part of a Christian walk. We're to love. Period. Love everyone — even the ones who make us feel like setting our hair on fire — because God has a perfect plan for everyone!

Mark 12:29-31— Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heard, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

— Email Andrea Howe at andrea@pdclarion.com

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