Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two Kinds of Love

John says in his first letter, "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10, ESV).

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With all the hype today about Valentines Day, the word "love" is sure to come up once or twice. Typically, though, we will be prompted to think about candy, chocolates, flowers, dinner at a restaurant, and all kinds of other material things with the word "love." While these are nice (I, especially like them because of my sweet tooth!), they are not love by God's standards. In fact, if we stop for a moment to self-evaluate, we might wonder why God's standards are not ours.

The problem with these things is that they are consumer-focused. They tend to focus on pushing consumerism, materialism, and self-centeredness.

In contast, God's love is...

  1. on display: He sent His Son to us, for us to see and know;
  2. self-sacrificing: He left the comfort and safety of royalty in heaven to identify with us on earth;
  3. purposeful: Jesus was sent for a specific and absolutely necessary purpose - to give us life;
  4. self-initiated: He first loved us, even before we wanted or knew we needed to be loved;
  5. unconditional: His love was not contingent upon anything about us, but was simply an expression of who He is;
  6. costly: it cost everything, even His life;
  7. incomprehensible: He gave His Son to us - US - we, who are unworthy of such rich love.

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But then verse 11 says, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

Today, instead of (only) buying things that give glory to to consumerism, we would do better to celebrate Valentines Day with real love - with God's love. Love that takes initiative, action, self-sacrifices, is purposeful, costly to us, and loves those who are difficult to love because of time, culture, differences, or maybe because they've simply never been loved before. In response to God's pattern of love set forth to us in His Son, love one another. Our world needs this kind of love and even more, God deserves this glory.

If you want to make an enormous difference in the world, and especially to some amazing children in South Sudan who need our love, consider making a donation to the organization I partnered with last year to serve the marginalized and forgotten people in Boma. Click here to visit SEA Partners' website to learn more.


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