Thursday, July 19, 2007

God-centered Love

In Philippians 1:9-11 we read, "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

I wonder if any of us knows the radical nature of God-pleasing, virtuous love. When I ponder the nature of love as revealed in the Bible, I can't help but realize how off the mark I am. I don't just miss the mark, I shoot at the wrong target entirely. The text above is one such revelation of God that drives me to Christ for salvation.

The above text is really just one sentence. There are several phrases expanding on the main thought, but the thought is this: "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more to the glory and praise of God." That is Paul's main thought. All the other phrases in the middle of that sentence modify that thought. So Paul's prayer for the Philippians was for them to abound with love in greater and greater measure. Why did Paul pray for that?

Maybe Paul was a sentimental, emotional romantic. Maybe he was an armchair philosopher, carrying on the ramblings of Plato. Maybe he was a closet liberal. Of all the things Paul could have prayed for, he prayed for love. The reason Paul prayed for love is because he was God-centered in just about everything he did. Paul knew the Philippians' love would end in the glory and praise of God.

Virtuous love flows from God, and points back to God. I get this idea from the text. If virtuous love didn't flow from God, why would Paul be praying to God for the Philippians' love? It's obvious that Paul expected God to increase the love of the Philippians. Paul expected God to do this for his own glory and praise. Virtuous love is radically and exclusively God-centered.

Is this the way you love your husband or wife? Do you love them for God's glory? Do you ask God to make them a better lover? Not so that you can feel more loved, but so that God would get more glory. Do you strive to make yourself easy to love, so that love will be easier to abound, and God's glory will be more abundantly praised? Are you missing the mark, or are you shooting at the wrong target entirely in striving to love your spouse? Is God the goal of your love, or are you?

No comments: