Have you seen our Resources for Practical Christian Living? You can find past Ministry Updates and other helpful resources on the website at: https://wohbm.org/resources/
We love because He first loved us….If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:15-19)
Dear Praying Friends,
Christ-like love comes into almost every counseling meeting I have and every lesson I teach. And it should. John 3:16 summarizes the whole Bible’s message: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Then Christ commands us: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”1
So how can we practice love for others better? Jay Adams’ comments are helpful:
Love is not first a feeling. Though the feelings may come later and grow, they don’t constitute the sum and substance of love. Love is doing whatever good God says you must do for another person, to please Christ, whether it pleases you or not (at first). We must love because the Lord says so and not wait until we feel like practicing loving behavior. Love begins with obedience to Jesus as we give to another person what they need most. Love is just not a warm, fuzzy, sentimental thing. It is hard to love. Often it hurts us to love. For Jesus, love meant going to Calvary’s cross through the garden of Gethsemane. Christ did not feel like dying for our sins, but He obeyed God willingly. He endured the cross for us while focusing on the subsequent joy that it would bring us in His resurrection and in our eternal salvation.2
Near Valentine’s Day I saw a video of an older couple. The gray-haired man used a cane and his white-haired wife held two heart-shaped balloons. They were holding hands as they moved along slowly. The video reminds us that while our culture glorifies youthful romance, true love endures through our many stages of life, with many ups and downs. It reminded me also of the song, “The Dutchman,” performed by Liam Clancy. The song is about an elderly couple living in Amsterdam, Margaret and her unnamed husband. The Dutchman has dementia and PTSD from his wartime experience, and Margaret lovingly cares for him. She is sad about her husband’s decline over the years, but she remembers better days and practices unconditional love, sacrificing for her husband just as Christ keeps loving us even when we are the least lovable.
Margaret’s love in “The Dutchman” reminds us of God’s love that marital love is meant to illustrate. Solomon’s wife (the Shulamite) says, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its passion unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”3 The Shulamite’s and Margaret’s love imitates God’s loving-kindness for us which endures forever.4
Jay Adams reminds us that true love is both the major motivation and the ultimate objective of all biblical counseling. “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us….The goal of Christ’s command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”5 Christ-like love is a self-denying, active, giving of ourselves to help others, imitating the Lord our Supreme Helper.
Drawing on 1 Corinthians 13 (the Bible’s “Love Chapter”) I have started a series of posts on “Jesus-like Love.” If you missed it, you can read the first one here.
Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support! You help us to reach unloved, untaught, unsaved, unchurched, and overlooked people who fall through the cracks. We bring people Christ’s hope through word and deed to:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep over the erring ones, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, mighty to save.
You make our ministry possible and I am so grateful! In Christian love, Bob
From the blog
Blogs posted since our November 2019 Ministry Update:
- Jesus-like Love (Part 1)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 1)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 2)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 3)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 4)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 5)
- Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 6)
- God Designs the Detours
- God’s Wonderful Gift (Part 1)
- God’s Wonderful Gift (Part 2)
Notes (various translations): 1 Matt 19:19, 22:39; Lev 19:18; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8. 2 Adapted from Jay E. Adams, How to Overcome Evil. 3 Songs 8:6-7. 4 This phrase is repeated twenty six times in Psalm 136. 5 Rom 5:5; 1 Tim 1:5. I acknowledge the help of David C. McCasland in Our Daily Bread.