The "L" Word: Harder Than it Looks
- Thursday, June 06, 2013
Oh, no. The “L” word.
The “L” word with which married folks think we singles struggle the most.
Not “lust,” actually, but “love.”
But relax, folks! Romantic love may have been what popped up first in your head, but it’s not the only version of the “L” word. Indeed, we define love in a variety of ways, and even view it on a sort of spectrum, with a cordial respect towards humanity at one end, to longsuffering caregiving at the other. Whether we’re married or single, love in its different forms cannot be underestimated as a prime resource for all that God has equipped humanity to accomplish.
Accomplish for His glory, of course. All too often, however, the emotional energy we spend on this topic gets lavished on ourselves. How often do we instead look for ways to share God’s love with others? Not just through evangelism, but our everyday interactions with them? Might even the degree to which we love God and what He’s done for us be displayed in how we do – or don’t – fellowship with people around us
Theologians call this type of love φιλία, or “phileo” love. The rest of us, however, usually call it hard!
Indeed, at this point, many of us check-out of these conversations. “If you knew the type of people I have to deal with on a regular basis,” we lament, “you’d know how impossible it is to love them!”
And yes, that’s probably true, in and of ourselves. C.S. Lewis, in his book, The Four Loves, estimates that phileo love is the least “natural” of the love types (p. 70). With Christ as our Savior, however, the love of God that has redeemed us from the penalty of sin should compel us – even a little bit – to find some way of expressing that “brotherly” love to others.
We single believers don’t get let off the hook simply because we’re not married. The Bible never mentions marital status when teaching how we believers in Christ are to love each other. Consider John 13:34-35, which is saturated with the “L” word: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
According to Jesus, we’re all evangelists when people outside of our fellowship see how well we interact with our fellow saints. That’s pretty challenging, don’t you think? Would residents in your city, people living near your church, visitors to your singles class, or the neighbors on the block where your home group meets readily identify you and your church as Christ-followers based on how you demonstrate love towards each other?
It's also important to note that, within our body of believers, God does not discriminate. Everyone whom He saves He loves equally. We each may have different roles and abilities within the body, but not one of us believers is especially important to Him or loved any more by Him.
This aspect of God’s love is bizarre, especially since we live in a culture that rewards individual accomplishment. Yes, some believers will have a more visible impact for God within our earthly experience. But God doesn’t love the Billy Grahams of His Kingdom any more than anybody else who professes faith in Christ.
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