The Truth in Love…Loving Our Neighbors
As we continue with our focus on The Love of God rooted in His Truth (go to https://loveandlordship.com/blog/discipleship-loving-response-required-to-his-lordship/ to see the 7 great texts on Love in the NT), we look at God’s Covenant Order for manifesting and expressing that love in relationship with others.
The 6th great text is found in Ephesians 5:21-33…Godly Love expressed in relationships and in particular in the Marriage Covenant and what it represent – Christ and His Bride, The Church.
As in the beginning (Genesis 1 & 2) God’s design begins with the individual (Adam) and then continues in relationship (Eve and marriage), so that faithful continuance of relationships occurs in the New Covenant in Christ.
We see Paul under the inspiration of The Spirit clearly outline in Ephesians 5:21-33 the Covenant Order of relationships (this in no way means that everyone must marry but it does point to how these relationships are to speak to and guide us in loving relationships that strengthen His Church and show His Love to the world)…Note this chapter begins in vv. 1-2, “Be imitators of Christ…”
- Submit to one another as unto Christ as Lord (v. 21)
- Wives submit to and respect your husbands as you have already learned to do with Christ as Lord (vv. 22, 33)
- Husbands servant-lead by example of sacrificial love and submission (show your wife how authority lovingly submits and serves) just as Christ did for His Bride (vv. 23-29)
- Personal submission to one another and particularly in marriage is the Love that Christ showed to His Bride and that is what Marriage is supposed to point to and strengthen in loving relationships in His Church (vv. 32-33).
- Mutual, submissive Love and Respect are foundations to all Christ-like relationships in the Home and in His Church (v. 33)
Remember that we are broken and Christ makes us whole in His sacrificial Love and His Holy Spirit in and through us! More specifically on Marriage as the highest of human relationships in future posts, as I want to wrap up our final great texts on Love. This may blow your mind but it’s much needed for us to understand God’s full-orbed love in all our relationships.
Get ready…The first of these 2 texts are easy for us to accept but the second one is tough for us to accept as God’s Love…but His Word and Spirit is our Guide and we need to fully accept His Truth so we can more fully know His Love…and share it with all our neighbors.
In these 2 Scriptures we see the “extremes” of God’s Love (if you will allow me that leeway to describe it) in Christ’s interaction with two men. Before I go further answer this question (not a trick question) – Does God/Jesus love perfectly every time? Again, not a trick question and I hope you can honestly answer, “Yes!” This sets the stage for learning, understanding and being willing to mature in and apply His love in our life and our relationships with others.
In Mark 1 we see a leper pursuing Jesus, begging to be healed by Him. Jesus responds with “splanchnizomai” (Greek word meaning “moved (stirred emotionally) with compassion”) and He heals the leper. Anyone got a problem with this kind of love? I certainly don’t and while I’ve never had leprosy, I’m so thankful for God’s compassionate and gracious love in my life over and over again! How about you?
God’s Love, as modeled by Christ, certainly involves our emotions and definitely our compassion but we, in our flesh, must be careful not to be led by our emotions which can easily carry us away in passionate pursuits apart from Christ or prideful service in helping others. We must learn to love as described in God’s Word in these 7 great texts (and others) so our service is not rooted in our flesh and therefore in vain but is rooted in His Love.
How do you love those closest to you with the compassionate Love of Christ? Your spouse? Your children and family? His Family? Others?
We’ve looked at Christ’s perfect love expressed in compassionate healing of the leper. As we continue to explore and grow in God’s Love we encounter another young man pursuing Jesus in Mark 10:17 and he asks, “What must I do to be saved (or inherit eternal life in some translations)?” Jesus perfect, loving response (remember my earlier question about God/Jesus loving perfectly?) is described here as “agapao” from the root word, “agape” which is how the writers of The Bible in the leading of The Holy Spirit describe Godly Love or the selfless, sacrificial, unconditional Love of God.
Pay close attention to v. 21 in Mark 10 to find the deeply loving impetus for Jesus response which can be very difficult for us to understand. Jesus’ answer flowing from Godly Love was “go sell all you have and give it to the poor and then you can come follow me” (my translation). The rich young ruler, in receiving Christ’s sacrificial Love, chose to walk away.
Jesus didn’t chase after Him, bargain with him, ask for only 10% so he could join their merry band and that is troubling in today’s churches if we’re honest with ourselves. How do I know this? Because we do all the latter things mentioned just to keep people coming rather than the most sacrificial loving thing of graciously telling them the Truth and trusting The Spirit to work in that Truth-seed of His Word to bring about changed lives for Eternity.
This is tough for us, growing up in our modern and postmodern culture, but it is directly in line with God’s Truth and Christ’s modeling of it! His Love was perfect for both the leper and the rich young ruler, but for the sake of teaching us, the wording of The Holy Spirit shows us that His “agapao” love for the rich young ruler was stronger (more sacrificial, selfless) than the emotional, compassionate love for the leper because He knew what was needed and He loved accordingly…and perfectly!
The full-orbed Love of God on one hand is the “heart-felt compassion that heals and restores” and on the other hand the “heart-spoken Truth that convicts”…the latter is seemingly more sacrificial as The Word indicates.
We could learn much from this in our lives, homes, families and churches. I think it is also what compelled Paul to write in Ephesians 4:14-16 (emphasis v. 15) where speaking the Truth in Love is what matures us in all aspects as His Body into Christ as the Head. We mature by Truth in Love!
Let’s all be willing to know and grow in the full-orbed love of God in Christ so we can show all our neighbors (fellow human beings) what that love is like.
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – I pray that you know God’s perfect full-orbed Love in whatever way that He knows You need it today! Be willing to receive His Truth in Love no matter what it may cost you. It is always good even when it’s not easy. Be willing to share the same love with others as He shows you their need.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you how to love according to His commands and priorities.
- Honor your marriage and spouse by loving them above all but Christ.
- Daily look for ways to love others, beginning with your spouse, children and family (as applicable) with compassion action.
- Ask The Spirit to show you how to speak the Truth in Love as needed and as a reflection of God’s sacrificial Agape (Love) and ask for the courage to do so.