Throw Away Love Part V – God’s Passion for His Glory in Love

I have been discussing primarily about society’s version of love versus God’s concept of it. Though we have only begun to scratch the surface of it, nonetheless I hope you guys are getting a better idea of what it means and how we have believed it to be something else.

To reiterate, the two main points were thus; Words without love are hurtful, and teaching without love is pointless. We are beginning to understand how important love is in our actions and intentions, for it is foundational to our obedience to Christ.

John Calvin writes, “All excellencies are of no value without love; for nothing is so excellent or estimable as not to be vitiated in the sight of God, if love is wanting…it is not then to be wondered, if all our deeds are estimated by this test—their appearing to proceed from love. It is also not to be wondered, if gifts, otherwise excellent, come to have their true value only when they are made subservient to love.”

To me, this is a very powerful quote, but also begs the question, in the actions that I do, if love is the culprit, then am I excused? In other words, if I just say that I am doing something because I love, then am I excused from all behavior? When I preached, I used the example of a student, if he had feelings for a girl in the room, just because he wanted to express love to her, would he be excused from all behavior and would he be able to do whatever he wanted as long as he was “loving?”

By no means; love is only love when it is wrapped up and centered in Christ. If it is centered on ourselves and our own needs and pleasing our own appetites, these actions cease to be love and become evil and self love. Yet God is different, if I can focus on philosophy for a second, for He must love Himself. God loves us with a powerful self-love, and this is a good thing. God is passionate for his glory, and loves us for His glory.

Why is this?

If God were to glory or love anything besides Himself as the primary, as He is the supreme of everything, then He would be committing adultery on Himself. When we worship anything less than God, we are in idolatry, we are exchanging the truth of God for a lie. We are serving something created rather than serving the highest most supreme. And God is no different; His perfect character demands that He be passionate for His own glory and for himself. But this is a good thing for us! Because His love for us is contingent on this good reality.

He is passionate in His love for us because it is wrapped up in His character and in His passion for His own glory! That’s a solid love, beyond anything we could understand. And catch this, God is most glorified when His greatest creation, namely us, enjoys Him and loves Him. So you better believe, if this is God’s way of getting the most glory, that He is going to be passionate about loving us. Not only is it right, but it is good, it is strong, and it is unchanging.

God will forever be passionate for His own glory, and therefore He will forever be passionate for us in love. I would not want to worship a god that did not do the greatest thing but settled for less than perfection. That’s what God would do if He didn’t glory in Himself.

Or have we forgotten that He is a jealous God? Exodus 20.5 says specifically, along with Joshua 24.19, that He is a Jealous God.

Exodus 34.14 says that his NAME is Jealous.

Deuteronomy 4.24 says that He is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 32.16 says that He is stirred to jealousy with our worship of stranger gods.

Psalm 78.58 says that God is moved to jealousy with the idols in our lives.

Song of Solomon 8.6, “Set me as a seal upon you heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 10.22, “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

God’s passion for His glory is a powerful truth, He will not share it with anyone or any thing. And His love for us is based upon this reality. And that is extremely powerful. Yes, there is wrath in God; but the Bible never says, “God is wrath.” We have to provoke him to wrath, but we do not have to provoke him to love.” – Ray Ortlund. Love from the undeserving flows from who God is; this is why our deep love for others is so important.

And in a comment by Joel Beeke, “What is love? How do you know if you are keeping Christ’s commandment to love your Christian brothers and sisters? How does a loving person treat others? Popular media often present love as feelings of attraction and pleasure, but such feelings rise and fall like mercury in a thermometer. We need love that is less like a thermometer and more like a thermostat—controlling our reactions rather than being controlled by them.

 

My Future Present

Words.

One of the disciplines that had been told me by a writing professor back in the day of collegiate craziness was to just begin by writing a page a day.  The content of it wasn’t important per se, but the style of writing was and the way in which words formed on paper needed to make sense to the common mind.  Cryptic words and useless phrases with enigmatic meanings were simple and easily done, but forming a cohesive thought, regardless of the thought itself, was important.  Or, very simply, I could have just made it up and assumed that somewhere along the lines my own presuppositions and insecurities needed to have more of a solid foundation for that statement rather than my own bizarre thoughts so I pushed it upon higher learning as the source.  Either way, it still holds true to me and from as far back as I can remember, I have told others to do the same; write a page a day.  Write about your favorite hat, the smell of leaves after it rains, the way your dog itches itself; anything and everything.  If you can make it seem interesting to someone, then perhaps you have a gift in writing.

Nine times out of ten, however, the person who found my writing most inspirational and most normal was the blinded love of my mother who read my heart on paper rather than the words themselves.  I cannot fault her; she is my mother.  But how unbiased can my mother be when at one time in my life she took joy changing my poopie diapers?  Let’s be honest here.

And now I’m faced with a dilemma.  I am no longer a pastor at Rolling Hills Covenant Church.  All I have left from that blessing of a profession is a bunch of relationships where I was their pastor, a few friends, and a host of memories made out of words.  Were you to ask me, I couldn’t write a page a day about my experiences there; I could write hundreds a day.  But again, let’s be honest.  Who really wants to read those words; who will think them important or inspirational?  Sure, there might be a handful who would continue to read, but the reality is, they are the people who loved me despite my weaknesses and transparency; they heard me preach and attempt shenanigans that made them laugh and cry.

So I moved my office to my garage.  I have set up a nook of a reality that is entirely and utterly new to me.  I sit on my desk chair that once had a home at RHCC, now on a cheap piece of carpet on my cold cement floor smelling a bit like old car oil.  My plethora of books all boxed up with a handful displayed on my desk for easy reference.  Two lamps light the inside of this dusky home, illuminating something, giving off a sense of homeliness, yet only discoloring the coldness of old useless junk.  What am I doing?

I am not preparing any sermons right now; I don’t have any planned that I will be giving and this is extremely bizarre for me as I’ve been doing weekly sermons, with an occasional break due to my third transplant, for almost twelve years now.  I have four children, one in heaven, and I am extremely blessed because of this but I have no known future besides pouring into these precious souls.  And this I will do gladly.  But I have been so entirely used to pouring myself out into hundreds of lives, that a part of me is taken aback by the stark reality that this is not my role right now.  It will be again, but it is not right now.  Now, I am to write with words.

My audience is a God who has not only changed my poopie diapers, but has cleansed the darkness of my heart.  My audience is not a bunch of college students or an adult ministry at Life on the Hill, those whom have heard me and have laughed and cried, but to a God whose heart breaks for me with compassion and goodness.  And so Father I will write for the sake of interacting with You, with Your Word, and with Your truth that You show me.  I have no idea what is in store, but I pray I will be faithful in writing.  You must be with me in this coldness that is the new office to me, and You must, I beg You, speak to me and validate me as only You can.  I am a bit at a loss right now, for I have no idea what writing will do; but I trust you.

You are my Moby Dick, and though I do not seek to kill you, I am obsessed with You.  You are my black knight, my champion king who returns.  You are my Ivanhoe, wounded, yet victorious for me.  You are my audience, and with these words that will be from my heart, I pray You use them for Your glory.