What’s Love Got to do With It? Part 1
What’s Love Got to do With It? Part 1 – by Brady Tarr
“So This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.“
(1 John 3:16)
“Ok, first, please stop singing that song in your head. 🙂 Second, let me clarify the question a little.What does a Christian’s love of God have to do with his/her life? The reason I ask this question is that “love” is a fruit of the Spirit, and therefore, it is important for a Christian to have a biblical understanding of what love is and how love is to be lived out.
I want to suggest that a Christian’s love for God should drive everything that we do.For example, Jesus Christ commands all those who have repented of their sin and have faith in Christ to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). These commands of Christ are the reason why a Christian’s life must be radically different from the world because we are to evaluate all of our actions, thoughts, and motivations in light of this passage in order to determine if they are driven by a love for God and others or for by a love for ourselves.
With regard to love, one fundamental difference in a non-Christian and a Christian is that a non-Christian’s primary love is a love of self with the goal of bringing glory to himself/herself.On the other hand, a Christian’s primary love is a love of God that seeks to bring glory to Him.Every sin committed is the result of when a person’s love for himself/herself trumps his/her love for God.Think about it.All sin can be traced back to a love of self because our sin is an example of us doing what we desire to do out of a love for self, instead of doing what God desires us to do out of an obedient and submissive love of Him.We must never forget that sin whether it is a love of self or any other sin is no small matter because it is rebellion against God.
As a Christian, love might be costly at times when we are wronged, persecuted, or taken advantage of, but we must remember that Christ’s love for us was costly as well.”This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
In this first devotional on love, let’s briefly look at some practical ways that we can live out a love for God.First, a Christian’s life is to be a life of sacrifice.What I mean by that is that Christians are called to die to self and live for Christ.The first way we need to pursue accomplishing this goal is to be faithful our practice of pursuing God through our exercise of the personal spiritual disciplines of reading the Bible, praying, memorizating Scripture, and fasting.We must make time for these things as they are essential in the process of loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
The Bible teaches us about our sin, about who God is, and about how we are to live a life that is in submission to Him.Christians are to pattern our lives after how the Bible says that we are to live and act. It would be foolish for a person who professes to be a Christian to try to live a life that is reflective of the love of God by just doing what feels best to him/her at the moment.In the same way, it would be foolish for an untrained “soldier” to go to battle with an unloaded gun or for an attorney to argue a case in court with no knowledge of the laws that apply to the case.
Our hearts are prone to evil and unbelief, and we must combat that tendency by letting God’s Word shape the way we live and love.When our conscience convicts us of our sin, Christians should be reminded that our salvation is not a result of our imperfect work and obedience, but rather, a Christian’s salvation is a result of God’s work that he accomplished for all those who would repent of their sin and put their faith in the one Triune God of the Bible.The gospel of Jesus Christ is an exclusive gospel (John 14:6).It is simply not loving and untrue to tell anyone otherwise.
As we conclude, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 which says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
For those of you who are interested in the most helpful and practical book I have ever read on how to grow in your love for God, I would encourage you to read Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines For the Christian Life. I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn under him at Southern Seminary.
Another helpful book by Donald Whitney is Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health.
FREE Audio book download:
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
Please download and listen to this audio book on your way to work or with your family.It will cause you to meditate on the holiness of God which will provoke your heart, mind, and soul to love God.Blessings to you all!
Jesus’ Disciples Were Weak: Mark 14:66-72
FEEDBACK… I welcome any feedback regarding these devotionals.Feel free to speak your mind.
Father, please cause our minds and thoughts to be consumed with a reverent awe of you and the work of salvation that you accomplished through Jesus Christ. May you help us where we are weak in our faith against sin and unbelief. Thank you for your grace and patience with us. Help us to forgive in such a way that models how we have been/are forgiven by you as undeserving sinners. Amen.