Love is not provoked. In a recent post I explored the type and frequency of response to provocation. This post I have another question. “Do I develop this ability to unprovoked love by training and discipline or is it totally a gift that should arrive ‘ready to use’?”
I see the place for discipline. We often do things because of habit and lack of thought. I am responsible to work on those. Habits can be changed. Thought can be engaged. I am working on that. Some people in my life have a special spiritual gift for punching my buttons. I don’t know if it is deliberate or unconscious. It doesn’t really matter, the verse above doesn’t limit my loving response to unconscious provocations.
When I am around certain people I engage the Love. I know what is coming and I prepare. I call on God, get a different perspective, thicken my skin and put on a smile. This helps me develop different habits of response.
What about when I am blind sided? I must confess my responses are not always the best. Often they are not even unjustified, just unloving. Here is where the love needs seen as a gift from God.
(Romans 5:5 KJV) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.This would remind us that love comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And of course we see love as part of the fruit of the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-23 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.Someone pointed out that fruit is different than a gift. Fruit is planted as a seed and grows to maturity. This brings the two sides of the concern together. When the Holy Spirit is in my life, He gives me the seeds of the fruit. They do not mature overnight. As I grow naturally and work on my discipline they are able to reach useful levels. So I guess this is one of those both/and situations. Love is both the product of discipline and a gift from God.
Lord, let my love be provoked less every day.
homo unius libri