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3 Things I Forget About Love

Written by Elisabeth Chandra for YMI, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

“Love is a Verb”, goes the song by John Mayer, the book by Gary Chapman, and the 2014 movie. The basic message all three convey is that true love involves action, not mere lip-service. I agree fully, as the Bible says, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). God’s greatest commandment also tells us that “love” involves our whole being: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . and . . . Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39).

But sometimes I find myself growing weary of trying to show love to others. I even feel a little hypocritical when I’m being charitable to people I don’t really care for. Have you ever felt that way?

Words without actions are empty, but even actions must be taken for the right reasons. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:3, “If I give all I possess to the poor . . . but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Why we show love is just as important as how.

Love is more than just a verb, more than just a fleeting feeling of generosity. The Bible has a lot more to say about true, godly love. Here are three lessons I’ve taken to heart:

1. Love originates from God. The Bible says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7), and “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Love for God and for those around us is the fruit of the Spirit as we submit our lives to His direction (Galatians 5:22).

2. Love should be the underlying motive for our actions. We read in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It was love for us that moved God to send His Son. This motive is constant and eternal. God’s love is the reason we ought to reach out lovingly to others, so that they too will believe in Him and experience abundant life in Him. Any other motive will cause our love to be seasonal and superficial.

3. Love flows from the joy of knowing God and obeying Him. It is impossible to grow in love apart from God, because love originates from God. If we do not take joy in knowing and obeying God, how can we experience His love? Our Lord Jesus demonstrated great joy in obeying His father. He endured the terrible ordeal of the cross “for the joy set before Him”, the joy of completing the work given by His Father (Hebrews 12:2). What an act of love He performed, moved by the joy of knowing that God was pleased with Him! We should draw encouragement from His example whenever we are in danger of growing weary or losing heart (Hebrews 12:3).

As I strive to become a more loving person, I pray that God will grant me first and foremost the joy to remain in Him, the source of love, and to cherish Him as my greatest treasure and eternal reward. Only then, I believe, can my love be extended to others, be it family, friends, colleagues, or any others that cross my path. May this be your prayer too.

Photo credit: A. Pagliaricci ♦ / Foter / CC BY

BOOK REVIEW ON “WITH THE WORD, THE CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER BIBLE HANDBOOK”

Written By Elisabeth Chandra, originally in Bahasa Indonesia

Most, if not all, Christians would agree that reading God’s Word is essential to knowing God’s will so that we can please Him in our daily living. But how many of us struggle to read the Bible regularly? The ancient text seems to have little correlation to the issues we face each day and we gradually find ourselves losing our resolve to read the Bible in one year despite our original intention. Eventually, we end up reading only certain devotional articles and feeling satisfied by the explanations from others instead of digging deeper into God’s Word ourselves.

If we want to know God and understand His will for our lives, we need to read the whole counsel of God, not just some parts of it. There must be a reason why different kinds of writings were compiled into one book and acknowledged as God’s Word over all these centuries. So apart from focusing on some of our favorite verses and trying to apply them into our lives, it would be wise and good to make effort in understanding the whole story so that we can clearly see how God intended our lives to be lived.

With the Word, The Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook by Warren Wiersbe is a helpful and needful resource in helping us grasp the grand theme of the Bible. Since he first became a Christian in 1945, Wiersbe has been faithfully reading the Bible over and over again. This is evidenced by the personal notes throughout the book that serve as a useful guide to illuminate our path as we explore the Bible chapter by chapter, from Genesis to Revelation. To help us navigate through difficult passages, he also gives insightful comments as well as lessons that we can apply to our daily lives.

So as we embark on our new journey this year, why don’t we attempt to read the Bible once through (or go through it again)? We can use tools like this chapter-by-chapter Bible handbook to whet our appetite for the Word. With the Spirit’s help, we can look forward to a scrumptious feast.

About the Author
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is one of the most respected Bible teachers in the evangelical world. His lectures, writings, and ministries (he was director of Back to the Bible for 10 years) have clearly and constantly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world for more than 40 years. He has written more than a hundred books.