11. Absolute truth

It’s easier to defend truth than absolute truth because, by its very definition, it is variable, observable and dependent. The ground is flat is true, but so is the earth round; spring is the season of newness and birth, but is also ripe time for pruning; and words have the power to bless yet curse in the same breath. The paradox is that truth is meaningless unless we know its source.

The idea of a source is that something is derived from it. My mother is an excellent source of freshly-baked butter biscuits, but so is my neighbour. This, then, allows us to distinguish between a variable source and the invariable source. Like water may be sourced from underground or from the sky, but hail must come from the sky. Nature is a tangible manifestation of what our human mind cannot fully comprehend. In other words, a single truth can be made manifest in a number of ways.

Something happens when we add “absolute”, though. Absolutism means unquestionably definitive. Make no mistake; though we may throw around the word “absolutely” like any other affirmative response, we really have not grasped its finality—otherwise we would not use it so cheaply. We are to choose our words wisely and not expect finality of anything in which we are unsure of its absolutism.

Metaphysical premise states that something cannot come from nothing. Thus, we can infer that all things must come from something, even if we cannot see the thing and it is only tangentially represented in our physical realm. Take gravity, for example. There is nothing to suggest that gravity exists except for its expression (on other things)—or, what we may call a tangential manifestation comprehensible to human understanding.

The same goes for words. Words are a tool to express what only the soul can come to know. Varying permutations offer a multitude of expressions and meanings—but they are all the same words. What I am getting at is there is an absolute limit to the number of letters in an alphabet, but limitless number of meanings derived from combinations of these letters.

The glory of God is made manifest the same way, and is an indication to us how a thing can move into, move out of, or reside in truth. Absolute glory is the highest (and purest) level of expression of a given thing—of which there is no end. There is no (enduring) earthly expression of this absolute glory because we live in a finite world with limited resources, limited time, limited capacities, and, finally, a limited mind. The only one of these which may be expanded without the use of agents or chemical processes is the mind. Something in us can somehow comprehend the width and length and height and depth of absolute glory because we know there is a finite source from which we derive truth.

10. Water

Water is our lifeline. In fact, most of the human body is made up of water. So, then, water is our lifeline because it is also a significant part of us.

Water is the molecular formula H20--meaning two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen atom. Hydrogen can, in theory, exist as a single atom--but in reality is found in the molecular formula H2. It quickly bonds with other atoms to produce various compounds. Meaning, it's quick to partner with other elements (except metals).

The other molecular component of water, oxygen, is required in all life forms as it is used in cellular respiration (with the odd exception). Cellular respiration, radically simplified, is the creation of energy and the release of waste at the cellular level. In other words, as far as the body is concerned, anything that is not producing power is waste. (More on this later, perhaps in another chapter.)

Water, the major constituent of fluids in living things, co-exists in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. Although there is an observable difference in their physical manifestations, all three forms are still water. We don't question this, but accept it as a natural (and scientific) truth.

So, we must drink water to live. We can collect potable water from springs and rivers indefinitely; its water is sourced from rock below the ground. (Lake water is potable and, despite their often large size, lakes are temporary bodies of water.) A spring is a small source which can sustain the individual and their family, or a relatively small community. A river, however, has greater capacity for renewal because it is vast.

It seems there is a spiritual significance here: water is metaphor for Holy Spirit. We know any branch which does not bear evidence of being connected to the water source will be cut off. Spiritually speaking, a spring must be differentiated from a river. A spring of water blesses you and those close to you; it is water within you which "wells up to eternal life." Perhaps this is accomplished through one's transformed life, or ability to heed God's word. A river of water, though, blesses others. This distinction was made during a time of feasting and celebration. Those who are spiritually dead are still invited to drink. But this invitation doesn't end at drinking for yourself. It is in the deeper work of yielding your heart to the Lord, that place of being transformed and corrected and loved, that rivers of living water may flow forth.

I imagine this as being stranded on a tropical island, surrounded by ocean. The hot sun is beating down on me, so I take a sip of ocean water. It's refreshing at first, but isn't really satisfying. Walking, I happen upon a table with multiple glasses of fresh water. Curious, I take a tall glass and drink it. Perhaps I had never known that kind of freshness, that pure, sustaining and living water, could even exist. So, totally excited, I drink down another glass. Then another. Then another.

Now I look up ad notice behind the table is a massive expanse of fresh water. I can't see where it begins, nor can I see where it ends. I also can't exactly explain with my human mind how it supersedes the ocean because all along I thought I was a self-sufficient individual on my own little island. But I now know the body of fresh water exists, and I want to get in so it can just consume me.

There's just one condition. I need to remove my dirty, sweat-soaked clothing before I get in. Doesn't matter how much of a good person I am. I still have to abide by that one condition. Many of us stop here because it's easier to either A) go in with our dirty clothes anyways and not come into the fullness of the blessing, or B) avoid going in altogether. Or, C) remember those lakes? Fresh water that won't last? I can even choose to go there. But its source is not rock, so its effects are temporary.

Perhaps we need to be reminded of the promise of restoration for our tired, weary souls. There's no special formula. All we have to do is call out to our lifeline.

9. Shoot

The shoot is the “in between” of the flowering plant. It connects the roots to the bloom. Or, it is the physical, observable connection between the (hidden) roots and resulting bloom.

Now, there is something curious about the shoot. It would seem the shoot’s main function is threefold: to support the flower, to move nutrients from point A to point B, and to house various complex functions of the plant. Support comes in the form of turgid cells bundled together into vascular tissue. Nutrient transport includes the move of water and minerals, essentials for good life, from the root to the plant cells. And, complex functions of the plant include cellular respiration, breakdown of nutrients, and the removal of waste.

The “curious” bit is the seeming parallel between nature and spiritual life. The shoot is the human soul, which serves as an “in between” for the spirit and the body. Everything in the physical, observable realm is the manifestation of what preceded it in the spirit. By this logic, the spirit realm is the root while the bloom is the physical manifestation or the body. Thus

root : bloomasspirit : body

Some impediment to the connection between the shoot and its roots results in an errant bloom—whether it is observable in its errancy with the naked eye or whether the errancy resides in the unobserved interior (or heart). In any case, a beautiful bloom is simply an external view of what may be happening within the vascular tissue. The actual health of the plant is more easily seen in specific environmental contexts.

For example, when digging into the soil to transplant a particular flower, do you find the roots intertwined with weeds that may interfere with its movement? Or dos the flower quickly whither when placed in harsh conditions (for a short period of time)? Or how does the plant cope in the wilderness?

The prophet Isaiah said

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.”

In a way, this verse is speaking of the shoot. Plants grow to great heights in the wilderness. The desert is a wilderness of sorts except the main impediment is not lack of protection but lack of water. Yet still

“[…] the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice […].”

In other words, the resulting (abundant!) bloom is the consequence of good nourishment while in the desert. God’s word says the beauty of nature is evidence of God’s glory. Then let us be glorious in His love.

8. Roots

A flower that blooms is evidence of good roots. That is not to say solely its physical roots in and of themselves, but also the conditions which foster and promote the growth of healthy roots. For example, the right balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in the soil. This so as to provide optimal conditions of the roots to grow and plant to thrive.

There are three things characteristic of a plant with roots. First, they are physically planted. This means they don’t have much choice on whether or not they come into existence, they simply exist because a seed was planted by someone else—or is consequential of some thing, such as wind pollination—at some point in time. Second, they are figuratively planted. Meaning they are destined to an appointed time and place, and cannot be easily moved from point a to point b—unless point b becomes a right place at an appointed time. A simple example is transplanting a tomato vine to the outdoors in a city with relatively low seasonal temperatures. It can technically be done in any season. But if it is not the right season, the fruit may dry up or grow stunted. Or, at worst, die.

Third, plants with roots are nourished. The degree to which a plant is nourished is highly variable and not solely dependent on being fed. It matters which nutrients the plant was fed (if any) under which conditions, how frequently, and how consistently, among other considerations.

It is also worth mentioning how deep or shallow the roots are. Water is more likely to settle deeper into the soil whereas shallow soil is much drier. Hence, deeper roots best allow plants to stay hydrated even in times of drought. Not to mention deep roots better allow plants to stand the test of time in most aspects relating to environmental conditions: storms, shortage of water supply, shortage of food, inability to thrive in current (temporary) conditions, attack by weeds, disturbance by foreign organisms, etc.

Though, can a plant with shallow roots thrive? Of course it can, but the likelihood noticeably drops. The parable of the sower shows us the importance of geographical location, divine appointment, and nourishment to growth.

If a radiant bloom is evidence of (good) roots, to some capacity, then roots are evidence of (the potential of) a beautiful life cycle. More than that, they are witness to the (limitless) potential of what can be fearfully and wonderfully made in nature.

7. Bloom

I was planting flowers in my garden this morning, all the while lamenting a handful which hadn't yet bloomed. I couldn't help but think about its relation to purpose and divine order.

In the laws of nature, physical evidence is pretty important if even only for symbolic purposes.  A flower in bloom, for example, is evidence of a healthy growth cycle. We can stand to reason some amount of nourishment and sunshine would yield desirable results, though the degree of desirable results varies. For example a flower which blooms to full capacity is a flower in full glory. A flower privy to the same environmental factors yet does not bloom to its full capacity has not come into the fulness of its glory. Aside from the visual aesthetic of a full bloom, does lack of fulness by virtue automatically mean lack of worth?

Not necessarily. If we can appreciate a flower for just being a flower, whether or not it’s in full bloom, then it doesn’t so much matter. One could still reap the flower’s health benefits, or opt for its stunted growth as a matter of style. Its physiological make-up, assuming all else is equal, remains the same—its pith, metaphorically (and quite literally) speaking. In this case, we can assume a full bloom may only serve to evidence it being a plant with the potential to bloom.

Still, the fulness of its glory ought to be what the flower strives for. This because it is a symbol of divine perfection manifest: beauty, greatness, completeness, wholeness, health, wealth, and abundance.  Or, its fruit.

These reflections contemplate “bloom” as a noun, though it can also be described as a verb, “to bloom.” The action of blooming is a coming into; the result of continual growth, pruning, and renewal. Or, its very own (re)genesis. It describes the process towards a fulness which is characteristic of its sort.

Note that once full bloom is reached, the flower does one of three things (all else being equal): it maintains the bloom, or it grows even more full and thus redefines its maximum bloom potential, or it withers. If it’s just a flower, then either of these results are to be respected and ought to be expected. But if its bloom is to be a symbol of divine perfection and its characteristic beauty, should we not hope for its full glory?

6. Joy

Joy is not happiness, nor is happiness joy. Joy far exceeds the limits of happiness in time and space.

Happiness is limited to constraints of the temporal; it has a positive correlation with an event typically tied to a specific time or sequence in time It is a desired rest form some action, or maybe a desired consequence of some inaction. Happiness is limited to space as it is observed by a subject. Meaning, one cannot experience happiness if the consequential action or inaction it is tied to lies outside the scope of the subject’s observation. (Whether the subject’s observation is primary or secondary may be semantic at this point of analysis.)

Joy, on the other hand, lies outside of the time-space matrix. It does not correlate with result, but rather persists in spite of result. If you call out, you will be answered. That is a promise grounded in love. Happiness is the emotional response to the desired outcome of the answer as constrained by time and space. Joy is the persistent result of a temperate mind regardless of the answer. By “the answer,” I do mean

A) whether the answer is desirable or not desirable (in the subject’s view) and
B) the patience and long-suffering the subject endures before they are shown great and mighty things

There is a popular idiom which says “joy comes in the morning.” The more obvious interpretation is that after darkness experienced through trials, the light will come and bring with it resulting joy. But this is out-of-context thinking. Taken from this song, the more complete phrasing reads

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favour is for life;
weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.

Trials and correction are equated to moments in time, while joy is equated to lifelong favour. While the simpler interpretation of joy-after-darkness is promising, it disregards the importance of patience and long-suffering whereby

patience : long-suffering

First, patience is worked. You can only gain patience—and, thus, endurance—by it being continually tested. Second, long-suffering is travailing the rocky road figured into the map you have been given that will, in time, get you to your destination. (You can choose to walk around the rocky road and you can choose to not walk, but your endurance will be weak.) Drawing this into the above equation, I’ll say

patience x work : long-suffering x rocky road

We can try to remove any of the variables, but mathematically it would yield the following undesirable results:

  • if patience is not worked, the long-suffering is of no benefit because the destination is not in focus
  • if there is no rocky road or long-suffering, the walk is quite simple—but there is no progress and no glory
  • if you work something other than patience, say emotion (which is highly variable), the long-suffering and rocky road are magnified

So, somewhat ironically, it may be more useful to say that “joy comes in the mourning." Emphasis is on patience by long-suffering. It’s no mistake that joy is the second fruit of the spirit mentioned after love. Joy is birthed from living a life of love: receiving love, inhabiting love, and giving love. We decide to inhabit love and we choose who to give our love to, especially our most intimate forms of love. Of these three, receiving love may be the most difficult. Why? Because if God is love and humans are made in His image, we must receive other people’s opinions, values, edicts, criticisms, and general life messiness with complete love and in a mindset of joy. Or, listening better and accepting people for who they are and not for how well they perform on our personal value scale. From this, happiness can only be attained in minimal instances and in minimal doses.

When we seek happiness, we may be more inclined to mourn lack of love in our own time. When we seek joy, we may be more inclined to mourn lack of love in a broken world.

5. The House

The house is a structure built for the sheltering of an individual or many individuals. It is a place of refuge from the world—typically secured, reinforced, and difficult for an intruder to access. The house is to be lived in, though in some instances it is uninhabited for a period of time. This could be by choice, or by circumstance. So, then, suffice it to say we all have a house, and in instances when we do not, we are ‘houseless.’ Now I want to focus more of my attention on the characteristics of the house.

First, the house is built on a solid foundation of cement rock. If it is not, it is vulnerable to natural disasters, extreme winds, structural problems, and ongoing wear and tear.

Second, the house has, usually, multiple levels. (While I understand that some houses are one level only, this does not detract from the fact all houses may be built with many floors.) The levels are usually built in sequence and flow from the one below it. For example if the main floor holds the foyer, kitchen, and living room, the second floor would hold the room(s) in which live(s) the individual(s) doing the entering, eating, and living.

Third, the house has windows and doors so that things can enter and leave—things which, ultimately, change the atmosphere of the house. Otherwise it would collect dust and stale air, block sunlight, and inhibit growth of life.

Fourth, a house is located in a neighbourhood. This means it is designed to be in relative proximity to other houses, some of which share common characteristics such as street name or colour of its exterior.

The fifth characteristic of the house is its masterful creation based on a specific and purposeful design for the perfect glory of its intended use. For example a ranch-style house on five acres of land can facilitate equestrian riding whereas an 800-square-foot condo in the city cannot; a suburban house with a sizeable backyard may have a pool whereas a back-to-back New York City brownstone probably would not; and a house in Ottawa would probably be warmly insulated whereas a house in Tampa probably would not be.

So, then, one must know how big their house is, what it may accommodate, and which features it ought to have based on its design. When you own a house, you must know its intended purpose in order to maximize its potential and thus glorify its use. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of dead and wasted space.

4. Light

We know that light exists in absence of darkness. But this would assume darkness came before it as an inevitable state of existence. Perhaps it’s best to say that light exists in spite of darkness. Darkness is pervasive, expansive, suffocating, final. Yet there is hope through faith, which is self same as light.

The important function of light is held in two governing principles. First, light must come from a source which emanates power. The details of the source—such as how the source is the source, under which authority, and from where the source is sourced—are not so important in this analysis. Let’s just focus on the fact the power source from which light emanates exists. This relates to light’s second governing principle: it has an undeniable essence. This means that while a light may shine in Beijing, another in Toronto, and another in Accra, the separateness of their manifestation is held in tandem by their common essence. In other words, the very characteristic(s) of the light and its potential are the same although all three lights may have different vessels.

If we can agree that light has a source and an essence, can we also posit that the source and essence must have a creator? Are they the same creator? Or are there two? And, further, who created the creator? As I’ve alluded to, perhaps the (unanswered) questions point to an inevitable existence of something much grander than our logic can reason. This, even though difficult to grasp, ought not detract from the fact of the unanswered questions and their merit.

There is no real purpose for a vessel to carry light in darkness. Might I suggest a simple enough way to understand the phenomenon is as a gift intended to light one’s path. Only the creator could distribute gifts of choice at her will; though the rationale may escape (some of) us, she is presumably omniscient. So, then, we can perhaps take a leap of faith and reason the perfect use of the creator’s gift is eternal light through the source for some intended benefit (Romans 6:23).

Now, what happens when a light dims? I would say either the wick within is not properly lit, or the light is not connected to the power source properly. In each case, the consequence is a vessel lacking brilliance. On the flip side, how does a light grow brighter? This is nearly impossible, if not for two specific scenarios. Either the essence of the light changes/is enhanced—which would require all lights to grow brighter. Thus, this rationale fails its own test. The second hypothesis is by means of a power surge or voltage spike directly from the source. Now, this means that in order to benefit from a possible spike, the light’s vessel must be connected to the power source at all times. Otherwise it might miss the surge it needs to keep burning.

3. Truth

To be true, in its simplest form, is to be factual. A fact is empirical as it can be tested an tried, and greater normative claims typically hinge upon it. Such as rest to cure the body of stress. Or sodium ions from simple table salt to make a flame burn orange in colour. To be true is also to be understood. For example when Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well who he was (John 4:1-42), she ran and told her countrymen about the Messiah—and they believed. Well, then, how did the woman and these countrymen know truth?

There is a seemingly inextricable link between belief and truth that cannot be explained in the natural alone. If we agree that one must focus their mind (intellect) on Jesus and submit their will (desires) to God, then we must also agree that belief is rooted in faith. The Bible states that faith comes by hearing. When the woman recounted her encounter with Jesus to her countrymen, they did not simply believe Jesus; they importantly believed in Jesus. The believed Jesus to be the truth, the manifestation of God’s word to man.

I suppose this raises some key questions. Namely, without the baptism of the Holy Spirit that allows them to bear witness, how could they possibly know the truth of Jesus? There is an important hint throughout much of the Old Testament. Before the ‘open heaven’ policy instituted immediately after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit would come upon the prophets to guide them and instruct them. The countrymen, by believing in Jesus, was a prophetic act of faith. It goes without saying that to believe in something or someone is a personal testimony of truth. The second important question is, what of the countrymen? Did they “go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) after learning and accepting the truth of Jesus Christ? And what of the woman and her sinful past? Why don’t we have a follow-up account? Or word on a Holy Ghost celebration for her repentance? Might I say that it does not matter. The truth is not based on the possibilities of our future choices; the truth is in the person of Jesus Christ, and we obtain (or attain some semblance of) truth by keeping our eyes fixed on him.

Now, in the absence of light there is darkness. In the absence of water there is dryness. In absence of riches there is poverty. And in absence of truth, there is untruth. The Bible refers to satan as the ruler of the world and he who “does not come but to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). If Jesus—who sacrificed his flesh in the world, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and came "so that [we] might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)—is ultimate truth, then we must submit that satan is ultimate untruth. This is understood from an elementary reading of the Bible. It is particularly evidenced by the negative spaces we allow when we do not accept certain truths.

Let me be more precise. If we have been given power and authority to trample “over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt [us]” (Luke 10:19), satan can only hurt us or steal power from us if we allow it. It is a choice. If we take this a step further, replacing the truth of Jesus with satan’s untruths is a choice we make on a continual basis. I’ll give a practical (and, surely, relatable) example. The truth that is Jesus states that I must love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Loving him with my mind (intellect) means reading and believing his word. His word says I am made in his image (Genesis 1:27), and I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Satan might suggest to me that my skin is the wrong hue. Now, assuming I am already in decent health, I have the choice to either reject this untruth or accept it and thus replace God’s truth in the person of Jesus. Wherever I fix my attention—on godly truth or worldly lies—I will reap its reward. As stated, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). In other words, your heart will dwell on whatever you invest your time and energy in doing. So we must “gird up the loins of [our] mind” (1 Peter 1:13) so that it reproduces only good fruit and not that which is spoilt. Meaning, the reproduction of good fruit is a manifestation of Jesus’ perfect work. And that’s the truth.

2. Discipline

The soul begs discipline. This is not to say the soul likes discipline. It’s like the idiom ‘to beg the question.’ The question in question is perhaps not burning to be asked. Sometimes, rather, it insinuates some irony or sense of dissatisfaction. In which case the word ‘beg’ is understudy to ‘assumes knowledge of.’ So, then, the soul perhaps cannot discipline itself and ought to be in submission to a higher power.

Before explaining why the soul begs discipline, it would do well to explain what discipline is not. It is not beating, nor insulting, nor chastising, nor making one to feel inferior So, then, if these measures are off limits, how would one go about disciplining? Galatians 5:22 gives a list describing the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control. Now, we often stop there. But verse 23 goes on to say “Against such things, there is no law.” In other words, any thing or action in direct contradiction to the fruit of the spirit is against the law.

Now, which law is that? The only commandment given in the New Testament is to love others as Christ loved us (John 13:34). This, as we know, lines up with the 10 commandments of the Old Testament which Jesus ingeniously compressed into two: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind; and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:28-31).
The implications here are astounding. First, this means love is tantamount because it is the common denominator. Second, it means we cannot love our neighbour (effectively) before we have genuine, godly love for ourselves. Third, and implicit by the second point, love is an action and not just a fuzzy feeling in the gut or loins. And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, this means the soul—made up of mind, will, emotions—must submit to love. There are no shortcuts, and there are no alternative readings. Therefore by deductive logic, discipline cannot be any thing or action that falls outside of God’s laws on love.

So, why does the soul beg discipline? Simply put, because it is unruly. Sigmund Freud described the human mind as composed of the id, the ego, and the super-ego. The id is pleasure-seeking, compulsive, and insatiable. The super-ego is moralizing. The ego has more complex processes and reasons between the id and the super-ego. (Notice the ego, which reasons between the insatiable id and the moralizing function of the super-ego, is still subordinate to the super-ego.) The ego sounds much like the ‘mind’ as defined biblically, and the id like the ‘will.’ The undisciplined id, then, is the only part of the body we beg God to rule over every day. Never noticed? It’s in the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:5-14).

Anything that manifests on earth (in the physical realm) is the direct result of what happened first int he spiritual. To submit your earthly will to God is to first loose in the spiritual realm what will subsequently manifest in the physical realm. This is kingdom discipline. If—from our first discussion—discipline cannot be any thing or action that falls outside of God’s laws on love, then submitting our earthly will to God is an earthly manifestation of what has already happened in the spiritual: witness of the Father’s love. Which means that while the spirit is developing, in the natural we are often blind before we see.

1. Love.

There is a misconception that love comes from the inner recesses of the soul. Love is much more than fleeting emotion or something we fall into. Love is a choice. This may be difficult to grasp, or even to understand. Love often does not feel like a choice. We love our family and friends, and those we care for. We can also love ideas or policies, like ‘world peace’ or ‘Hockey Night in Canada.’ We often feel as though love is a reaction or response to some stimulus that renders us helpless and subject to its purposive effects.

But what if I were to tell you that love is the only choice? The rationale from a Christian perspective is simple enough: God is love, so you can either choose to live in Christ—His only begotten son who became His word manifest—or not. This, of course, does not mean that if one chooses to walk in love they are walking perfectly in love. It is a heart issue, meaning if and how your heart is positioned to receive and give love. One can only give away what one has already received; one cannot give freely that which one hath not. Once you come to the decision to love (meaning to give it away), God can replenish your soul. Hence my introductory statement on love coming from a deeper (and higher) place than the soul.

Jesus gave us a new commandment before He was crucified: to love others as He so perfectly loved us. “By this shall people know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). To the non-Christian, the rationale is less black-and-white. There are other theories floating about that are nicer-sounding, such as ‘karma’ and ‘energy.’ These, however, are not enough to require someone to live in submission to love. There has to be some underlying law, one which karma or tit-for-tat alone do not satisfy. The answer is a form of love that washes us, renews us, and redeems us.

The purpose of this collection of essays is to show you that living the love walk is the best decision anyone can make. For one, you will have more joy. This is guaranteed. If you are already thoughtful toward others, you will become abundantly generous. If you are sour, you will at least become tepid. Second, walking in love will better the lives of those around you. When you get on the city bus and the driver scowls at your ‘hello,’ it can undoubtedly affect your mood. Now here’s the thing: it should not. I will equate as to why at a later time. And finally, the love walk forces you to re-prioritize your life goals and reconsider whether you are currently living in the calling with which you’ve been called. Here’s a hint: it is usually whatever you’re really good at and benefits others, and also brings you joy. If you are a practicing journalist and you know you are instead called to astrophysics, you are not living in your calling. What’s even more, you are robbing other people of the opportunity to be blessed by your gift!

So, then, this is a short study on love as a necessary journey to discovery. If love is indeed a choice, let’s decide to take the faith we have and multiply it by walking together.