The theme of this blog is love.
A four-letter word more powerful than any other. A word with the power both to heal and (unfortunately) to kill. A word that should flow off our hands and feet more than it flows off our lips.
It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but it’s not as easy to show it. James–the brother of Jesus–says:
If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.James 2:15-17
And John–the “apostle of love”–explains:
If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him? Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.1 John 3:17-18
I’ll say it again. It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but it’s not as easy to demonstrate it.
This is unfortunate. Here’s why:
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:34-35
How will people know that we belong to Jesus?
Is it by our repeating, “I love you” to one another?
Jesus says it’s “if you have love for one another.”
Now, granted, one could try to say, “Love is a noun in verse 35. It’s a thing we are told to have/hold. Therefore it’s not an action.”
And i would agree. In John 13:35, love is the object of the verb echō–meaning, “I have/hold”–in John 13:35. But this is why context is key. In verse 34 Jesus gives us (the disciples) a “new command.” This “new command” is “love one another.” There, love is a verb. In fact, every instance of the word love in John 13:34 is a verb. But how are we to actively “love one another”? Jesus says, “Just as I have loved you.” And how did Jesus love us? Let’s go back to 1 John:
This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.1 John 3:16
What does this say about our claim to belong to Jesus?
If we are to love others “just as [Jesus] loved [us],” then this means our love–as Christians–must involve a semblance of sacrifice. Now, i don’t know your situation, but i know my own life, and i know my growth in this grace over the past ten years, and i’m ashamed to say that i regularly stack up horribly compared to the perfect example of Jesus Christ.
But this is why i must cling so tightly to the Gospel. This is why i preach the Gospel to myself in every sermon i preach–before proclaiming it to my congregants as well on Sunday morning–and why i elaborate on the Gospel in (almost) every blog i write. We need the Gospel.
We need it more than we need anything. The Gospel give hope and grace to people whose current level of love looks like hatred by comparison. You know the areas in which your love can more resemble the love of Jesus.
All that to say that my blogging this year is going to heavily emphasize this theme.
The most powerful of four-letter words.
Join me in this journey:
However, for those of you who enjoy my regular Scripture exposition, have no fear. It’s not going anywhere.
I’m going to try to continue my exposition of Mark–slowly–aiming for one post a month. (Being a full-time student, a newly-wed, trying to produce some published works this year, and currently searching for pastoral jobs might prevent this from being achieved, but goals are important. That’s why one per month doesn’t seem impossible.)
I’m going to try to do one Revelation post a week. (See above for why this might not be achieved 100%.)
But first, i’m going to do the one post i missed last year: A post focused on the call of the church as we move into 2021, which will elaborate greatly on this post.
I’d be honored if you join me in this journey.
Let’s live in Love and find our true Reward. (If you’re unsure what i mean by this, check out my home page.)
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.