North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

While counseling a young couple a few weeks before their wedding day, I ask them about their vows and what they would like to include in the wedding script. The bride immediately responded, “There’s no doubt I want 1 Corinthians 13 in there somewhere. That’s the love chapter and we can’t be getting married without the true meaning of love.” If you’re going to be given away in love by your earthly father, why not include your Heavenly Father’s definition of love? The Bible says true love doesn’t give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. Love doesn’t do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love doesn’t get angry. Love doesn’t remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things. Love never comes to an end.
In God’s plan it was love that gave His Son (Jesus) away and it’s in God’s plan we receive His Son in love. There are specific instructions given in Scripture about how we are to love. Matthew 22:37-38 says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest of all the laws”. As Christians, we will agree that we’re supposed to love God with all our heart, and yet that command can remain an abstract concept to us. It’s not easy to say in words what it means to love in that way, but it’s easier to express it in various ways.
A person came to me for advice about a problem they were having with someone else. It was a conflict where some animated words had been thrown around between the two of them. There was hope for resolving the conflict because this person didn’t like the hard feelings. I asked him, “Do you love yourself?” They looked at me strangely and said, “What do you mean do I love myself?” And I told them, “It’s not a trick question. Every person must love themselves before they can be right with others and love them back in the right way.” He responded by saying, “I think I do, but it sounds conceited don’t you think; to love yourself?” Ben Franklin once said, “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” We can conclude that the person who is stuck on their own selfish goals won’t have many friends hanging around.
The world’s wisdom appeals to our selfish nature. Christ assumes that self-love is our natural state when he commands us: “You must love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It’s a challenge, but with God’s empowering, we can love by seeing that the poor have a bed to sleep in, the cold have coats to wear, and the hungry have enough food to eat. By serving others we are serving Christ (Matthew 25). God is a lover and a giver. By loving others and helping them we demonstrate that we love Him.
If there’s ever been any doubt of your standing with God or the status of your “love meter”, be aware of 1 John 5:2, “This is the way we know we love God’s children. It’s when we love God and obey His Word.” Christians are known by their love for God and others. Our success or failure is determined by how much of God’s love we manifest. If we understand the power of love we know the following four things about love:
Love shows. Actions speak louder than words, so our deeds must be accompanied with compassion and concern. Our actions need to express the inward love we possess in our hearts. Love is shown when we assist the less fortunate, comfort the discouraged, and visit the sick.
Love glows. The Bible says, “Let your light shine in front of others” (Matthew 5:16). Love glows in the darkness of sin which encourages confession and brings conversion to those who need it. We travel an uncertain journey, but there’s no mountain to steep or valley too deep that we can’t use loves glow to give us direction. Christ-followers walk in the light (1 John 1:7).
Love flows. Every individual needs love and to be loved. Our love should be like a flowing river that breaks open old drifts and picks up trash and carries it away. An overflowing love can banish resentments, sweep away hurts, refreshes, renews, and revives a heart that’s in need of a soft touch.
Love grows. The world is full of self-centeredness and is concerned with selfish pursuits. Don’t allow your love to be dwarfed and fail to grow. Love grows when it’s nurtured and doesn’t remain stagnate. When you love someone they are apt to love in return. The more a person practices loving attitudes the greater impact that person has on the people around them.
It was God’s love for all people that gave Christ away. Let love work wonders in your life, so that when you’re gone, people will remember you in this way.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Nov 9 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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