As I write this, I am watching a mama cardinal sit on eggs that she lovingly laid in her nest next to a rose bush right outside my front window. I have been unable to decide if it was wise or foolish to
build a nest in such a thorny location; will the thorns be protection against predators or dangerous daggers for her babies? I love this view, observing her as she sits patiently in her beautiful-but-thorny rose bush waiting on the promise held in those four speckled eggs. In this early morning moment of silence I think of my own baby girl, still in the womb, who lovingly kicks as I write. In a way, the cardinal and I are pursuing love together. She began her pursuit with the diligence and hard work it requires to build a nest—one stick at a time! Now she lovingly, patiently, and watchfully waits on the promise. Sometimes waiting is part of the pursuit! Once the eggs hatch her pursuit will continue with her efforts to protect, feed, and train her small brood. She is pursuing love in every season.
1 Corinthians 14 opens with the challenging reminder to “pursue love.” The word “pursue” is defined as “to follow in order to overtake, capture, chase, strive to gain, seek to attain.” Pursuing love is not about frolicking through a field all blue skies and daisies. The pursuit of love requires us to strive, seek, and chase. Strive: to exert oneself vigorously; to make a strenuous effort; to contend in opposition; to struggle as in resistance. Seek: to go in search or quest of; to try to find, discover, obtain. Chase: to pursue in order to seize, overtake, capture; to follow or devote one’s attention to with the hope of gaining; to drive or expel by force. Striving, seeking, and chasing all require us to take action and embody the violence and focus of pursuit. In order to obtain love, we must make a strenuous effort, contend, and devote our attention to the prize. We pursue love when we sacrifice our will for His will in our life. It is the daily discipline of the walk of a true Believer that enables us to chase after love. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Pursing is a choice. It isn’t a rut or a daily devotion. It isn’t a denomination. It isn’t your favorite worship song or sitting in the audience of your favorite speaker. Pursuing is living in obedience to God’s word and being open and willing to grow and change more into His likeness.
If you are in the same place today that you were last year, or heaven forbid 5 or 10 years ago, you are not pursuing love! Pursuing love births change, growth, and promotion. A missionary pursues love serving in the field they have been called to. A pastor pursues love in the sacrificial life of a true shepherd. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate pursuit of love by giving His very life as a sacrifice for ours. You do not have to be a missionary, pastor, or Jesus Himself for it to be said that you pursued love. We simply have to be obedient disciples that go when He calls, lay down our lives for His purpose, and seek Him with an open heart and mind that is not boxed into religious habit, but that lives in the Spirit and the boundaries of the Word of God. Religion itself is not love. God is love. That does not mean that God has not set up rules and boundaries—He most certainly has—but we need to be sure that in our pursuit of love, the boundaries we follow are in fact rooted in the Word, and not the traditions of man. Pursue God in holiness. Pursue God in passion. Pursue God in submission to His Word. Pursue God in sacrifice. When you do, He will pursue you with His love.