Skip to main content

Love as Christ Loves - Part 1

Last night, we had our Men's Bible Study group.  It was a great time.  We discussed the three commandments that Jesus left his followers:

  1. '[Love] the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength'.

  2. 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.

  3. 'Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.'


I think that all three of these are best understood with the caveat Jesus placed on the last one, 'just as I have loved you...' we should love God and neighbor and each other.  So the question that comes to the for is, 'How does Christ love us?'  Completely.  Selflessly.  Sacrificially.  How does that play out -- what does it look like -- in the three commands above?  Further, is loving 'as Christ loves' a 'key' to becoming truly human?  Does it matter what the opposition is?  Does it matter how others make us feel?  Are these things barriers representative of our falseness; our sin?

'It's hard to do'.

True.  But does that matter?  Do we love as Christ loves?  To quote a songwriter/poet/prophet, 'It's not about who you love.  It's all about do you love?'  And for the followers of Christ, it's all about do we love as Christ loves?

Again, the first commandment is, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength'.  What does this look like?  What does it mean to love God sacrificially?  Does it relate to vocation?  Maybe.  But that seems best identified in the later commands.  It seems to me to refer to the putting away of our plans or dreams for the plan or dream of God.

Perhaps not.  Perhaps it deeper still.  This has to do with ones relationship with God.  However, Jesus did say, 'If you love me, you will keep my commands...'  So maybe loving God is, at least in part, about action.  Does this mean going to church, giving, singing in the choir, helping with the landscaping, missions, etc.?  I think it may start there.  But it should move out from there.  Contrary to what we may believe, sacred places are not limited to 'church'.  All of life is sacred.  All of life is holy.  'Church' is to be a miniature -- a rehearsal -- for how all of life is to be lived.

So, again, how do we love God sacrifically?  If we look at the command, Jesus tells us to love God with everything that we are -- heart, soul, mind, and strength -- our total person.  While loving God may seem abstract for some, how do we love our spouces or partners that way?  For me, it's about giving myself away for the needs of my family.  Do I always succeed at this?  Of course not.  But that is my intention.  I think the same would apply with our relationship with God.  Our intention must be to give ourselves completely for the things of God.  That may require less sleep.  That may require less food.  That may require less 'stuff'.  In fact, I would say that those are probably all a given.  It is about communication with God -- of listening for God within all of life.  Of realizing that our way of seeing, doing, being is upside down.  Jesus said that if we want to keep our lives we must lose them.  I don't think he was specifically talking about being killed for our faith (though that has something to do with it in the context).  I think it's more about seeing our lives are backwards; upside down.  The key to becoming more human, more like Christ is to give our lives away for the things of God.  It means opening our lives -- every aspect of our lives -- to whatever God wants from us.  We have to be willing to do that.  That is the cost of following Christ; of having a relationship with God.  Think about God's relationship with Abraham.  God told him to leave everything he knew and go to some place God would show him later.  Just leave and go.  Period.  We have to be that willing.  Our intentions have to be just like that.  I think that is what loving God sacrificially looks like.  It means laying aside something near and dear to us for the sake of being and doing what God wants us to be and do.

Next time we will look at the second command.

~~~
In the Grace of the Three in One,


OD

Comments

Matt said…
Enjoyed this post. You've got a lot of good thoughts there.

Popular posts from this blog

Pipe Smoking—The Why

“I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” — C.S. Lewis

In my last post I talked about my ingress into the fantastical world of pipe smoking. In this post, I want to talk about the “why’s,” the reasons I smoke a pipe. And that’s an important distinction. I’m not saying why you should smoke a pipe, I’m only speaking from my experience.

So, why did I start smoking a pipe?

I’m not really sure. Seriously. I just sort of fell into it. I mean, I guess part of it is the “old world” feel about smoking a pipe. I’m a lost romantic in a very unromantic world. I like “old” things—antiques, craftsmanship, clothes1, shaving2, etc.—and pipe smoking fits into a lot of those categories. There’s a quote I use when I give retreats on Celtic Christian Spirituality that goes like th…

Pipe Smoking—The Beginning

“I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” — C.S. Lewis



As many of you know, I smoke a pipe. And while I really don’t mention it a lot on this blog, if you were to visit me we would, more likely than not, find ourselves sitting outside having a nice conversation and I’d be smoking a pipe. I might even offer you one, if you’re so inclined.

What I’d like to do is write a little series on pipe smoking. Perhaps some “how to’s” and what not. Who knows? I might even start a YouTube channel about it.

But one thing I’d like to try to do is tie pipe smoking together with theology and biblical study. A lot of people find the two—pipe smoking and spiritual commitment—diametrically opposed to one another. But as we saw in the Lewis quote above, it can be quite helpful and s…

Pipe Smoking—The Pipe Parts and Stuff

“I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” — C.S. Lewis

In our previous post, we talked about the different shapes of a smoking pipe. So today we’re going to talk about the different parts of a pipe and some of the tools you’ll need for smoking your pipe.

Now that you have your first pipe (congratulations, by the way!), let’s talk about the different parts of your pipe.


As you can see in the above image, a pipe has two basic sections, the stummel and the stem. The stummel is the wood part and the stem is the mouthpiece.

The stummel can be made of different material but is generally briar wood. Briar (Fr. bruyère)comes from a flowering, evergreen shrub (erica arborea) in the heather family that grows in the Mediterranean Basin. After the shrub has reached maturity…