Lesson in Love from My Cats
The other day during my quiet time – I gained yet another insight from my cats, a lesson in love.
For over 13 years, it was me and my husband – no children, no pets. Then last October we got Malcolm and Sophie. Their addition has brought so much to our home – much more than I ever imagined. I’m surprised at the amount of love and care I feel for them. It was unexpected. I mean they are just cats.
As I was sitting there doing my quiet time with one lying on one side on my notebook and the other on the side next to my Bible, a certain characteristic of love came to mind that I hadn’t really considered before. With that insight, the Spirit took me into a deeper understanding of our purpose and why we were created.
When Malcolm and Sophie came into our home my love expanded. This is what I learned. Our love is like a land mass and as others come into our lives, and as we grow to love them the territory expands. In addition, the love dynamic between me and someone else is unique to us because we are unique. So with each new addition, our love grows in a unique way, just like no plot of land is exactly like another. It’s an incredible phenomenon that I’m finding my words don’t justify in sharing.
This expansion idea of love as well as the uniqueness of love between individuals taught me the deeper truth of our purpose. I’ve believed for several years now that we were created with the purpose to abide with God in love. It is our purpose now and for eternity. 1 Corin 13:8, 1 Corin 13:13 But what I realized is God made us to expand His expression of love. Love is only love when there are different parties involved – ones to give love and ones to receive the love. The more giving and receiving, the more love abounds. So He created us; souls with the ability to embrace His love and love Him in return that the territory of love might be vast and rich with each unique dynamic of love. And not only is the love expressed between Him and us, but us and others. Eternity will be incredible. Consider the most powerful experience of love you have had – then multiply that a hundred fold – that’s eternity with God. Why would you ever want to miss out on it?
Because each one of us has a unique love dynamic with God because we are each unique, we are infinitely valuable and one can’t replace the other. Sophie could never replace Malcolm and vice versa. This distinctive value puts a tremendous value on each one of us not only to each other, but to our Heavenly Father. This individual value is why there is so much rejoicing in heaven over one soul who enters the kingdom of God. Luke 15:3-10 We are irreplaceable. We can’t compare ourselves to others; we are all unique as our creator made us to be. Now if that doesn’t do anything for your self-esteem – nothing will.
Some believe that God created us to worship Him. Worship is a state of the heart. It is the natural response when we are rightly related to Him, including abiding in His love. Therefore it gladdens God’s heart, because it’s the fruit that we know Him and He is first in our lives. But that is only a reflection of our purpose which is to abide with Him in love. Because, I believe we were created for this purpose, it’s our part to foster a relationship of love with Him – love which consists of intimacy, knowing, trusting – for that’s why we are here. If we neglect that engagement we neglect our purpose and His will for us. John 17:23-26
Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
One more point about all this. There is a HUGE difference between loving others and God with our corrupted version of love and the pure love of God. Though our love won’t be as pure as God’s because of the influence of the world’s perverse idea of love, as new creations in Christ we grow more and more in the love of God. One of the many gifts of being His child is that you receive His love to know and to give. As I seek for His love to consume my life, I am finding it’s incredibly more pure and perfect than any rendition of love I previously had or gave. It often amazes me what I feel for others and how deeply I feel it – things I never had before. They aren’t fleeting emotions, but substantive land masses because they are fruit of a new heart created in His likeness.
We settle far too easily for corrupted, perverted, and destructive emotions that we call love. God is offering us a true, deep and real love that is of Him so why settle? We all want love. We all want His love whether we realize it or not. It’s a driving force in our lives. But until we seek and know the love of God as our own, we will experience a great lack in this area. God is offering us the love we deeply desire because He put that desire in us to draw us to Him and to be filled by Him. And only by being deeply connected to Him do we truly know this love to experience and to give others and are able to truly expand our territory of love including to our cats.
“I love my God, but with no love of mine for I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord, but all that love is Thine, for by Thy life I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
emptied and lost and swallowed up in Thee” (Madame Guyon).
1 Thessalonians 3:12 “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,”
October 26, 2009 at 8:28 pm
Lol. I learn a lot of lessons from my dog too. It’s amazing how God can even use pets to express Himself too us. For some strange reason it reminds me of Job 38-39…how everything works for Him and is under His command. In His mercy, He uses it to teach and speak to us….Aaaah…love Him.
Bless you, sister 🙂
October 26, 2009 at 10:25 pm
Lauren – thanks for stopping by — it is amazing how He teaches us.
October 27, 2009 at 3:49 am
What a great picture of yet another reason we need one another (and our furry buddies, too). How can we love without someone to give that love to? My friend Noelle told us (the church) yesterday how she had been telling God how much she wanted to know and love Him better–He told her to be with the church and know and love them/us better, then, as it is through the church that He makes Himself known to us. He is wonderful.
October 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm
Cindy – thanks for stopping by. Asking God to know His love is a powerful request. I remember asking for years when I realized my love was really limited to me. I knew there had to be more to it. One night, God flooded my spirit with His love. It was tremendous. It covered old wounds and pains. It broke down walls I had built. It was the one time in my walk where I felt a more instant change and that love continues to grow. Ever since then, that love has abided within changing how I deeply feel about Him, myself and others. His love is so powerful. When it comes from Him we know it and it transforms us. We should never give up on asking and waiting for the real thing. He indeed is wonderful.
October 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm
Good morning. This post is so incredible that any comment of mine seems woefully inadequate. I’ve thought much over thepast several months about the second great commandment; that of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Of overcoming evil with good and being a blessing to those who seek to take advantage of us. Not just because we are supposed to, (that turns it into legalism) but because we sinserely love the other person.
One passage that comes to mind is Matthew 5:44 “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” And just as the Lord loved us when we were in darkness, we are to love those around us.
Earlier this morning, an event came to remembrance that I had all but forgotten about. One that would challenge even the most spiritual of us. About three years ago, a gunman entered an amish school in Pennsylvania and took the lives of several students along with a teacher. There was non-stop media covrage for days. A number of reporters were astonished beyond astonished when the parents all expressed love and forgiveness of the man who had taken so much from them. We cannot do that on our own.
The unsearchable love of God. Its totality is beyond our comprehension and as you mention, too often wewill settle for the corrupted emotional love that the world champions. The eternal and unchanging love of a faithful Creator.
Sorry if I seem to be rambling. Thanks for an incredible posting and one that I needed this morning.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
October 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm
timbob — thanks so much for your comments – they always insightful. And thanks for sharing that powerful story. The love of God is truly astounding – in that it enables us to love when we otherwise couldn’t and that not only brings us deeper into true life but others as well.
October 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm
Thanks for casting the love of God for us and our love for Him in a new light. There is a beauty in what you have written about. I also have two cats, in addition to another cat, a dog, two gekkos and some fish. Our pets have definitely expanded the love in our home.
October 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm
Steve – you have quite the household of pets! Thanks for commenting!
October 28, 2009 at 6:24 am
Yes, I too believe that God uses mundane things as examples of the things He is speaking to us about. It may be that He is speaking to me about forgiveness, just as I have to work with a person who annoys me exceedingly. He might speak to me about obeying the laws of the land, just as I have noticed my habit of sliding through stop signs.
I know He has shown me bits of His amazing love through children and animals. And, yes, I have had a couple of pretty good cats myself, I haven’t seen many really good cats lately, but I’m glad you have some good’uns.
Anyway, I don’t think Jesus limits His vocabulary in speaking to us (I don’t believe He is limited to Elizabethan english either). He uses everything, because He is, after all, God.
I too, believe that He draws us one step at a time ever closer to His likeness.
He loves us so much, what else would He do?
October 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm
Nathan – words well said. Far too often we underestimate God’s love for us and I’m finding it is tremendous – and that is just a taste – incredible!
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