1) Love’s description is so ideal. It portrays a quality of love that has never been fully achieved, except once. Only God truly loves like this. (Go ahead, look it up if you don’t believe me).
2) On the other hand, I am convinced that God really wants us to at least try to practice this kind of love.
So how do we balance the two? I was driving the other day. Actually my teenage daughter was driving and I was in the passenger seat. So you know what that means, right? We were both driving. I was doing the parent-thing by watching the road for both of us.
As we pulled up to a red light, a bicyclist pulled up next to us. It was clear what he was trying to do. He was trying to slow down for the light, yet keep enough forward motion to avoid unlatching his foot from the pedal. In other words, he was trying to balance.
At the worst time possible, just as the light turned green, he lost his balance and fell down directly in front of us. Fortunately my daughter observed the whole episode and didn’t budge. Nevertheless, I shouted, “Brake!” because that’s how parents “drive” from the passenger seat. The bicyclist dusted himself off, and we proceeded carefully. Nonetheless, my poor daughter had to endure Driving Lecture #187 – the one about how you can’t trust those bicyclists; they just fall down right in front of you without warning.
But I understand what the embarrassed bicyclist was trying to do. He was just trying to balance. But it’s hard to balance without momentum.
I am discovering the same is true with God’s love. It is only as we build momentum, only as we pick up speed, that we find the ability to balance perfect love with actual love. As we begin to love as God does, even in limited ways, God will be working in us, making our love more like His.