We have to begin with LOVE

My blog is normally written in Swedish, but today I want to share a passage in English with you. The text is copied from the book The Gift of Prophetic Preaching by Michael Eaton, and is a book that I really recommend to you all!

We have to begin with love
We have to put love first. “Follow after love…” We have to be godly men and women, and if you want to know what godliness is, it is love. Do you follow after love? It takes some of us along time to take this seriously. I am embarrassed to think how long it was before I began to take love seriously – but we have to do it. We have to work out graciousness towards other people. I am still learning how to do it and am embarrassed by my failures! But it is the number one demand upon our lives. It is giving what the other person truly needs – not what they want, not what they think they need, but what they really need. Love is being totally un-defensive about ourselves. The biggest problem in all our lives is “self”, but we have to conquer self and become people of love. Love is greater than the greatest of gifts. If I am a great preacher, as good as Billy Graham, as great an orator as Martyn Lloyd-Jones, as knowledgeable as John Calvin, as gifted a reformer as Luther, and can speak like an angel, but have not love, I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. God asks love of us, much more than He asks us to become great preachers. If I am the greatest expositor, if I have an understanding of mysteries, if I have faith so as to remove mountains – and moving a congregation towards serving God is as great as moving a mountain! – but do not have love, I am nothing (1 Cor 13:2). Love is slowness to act when we are feeling angry. Love slows us down when we are inclined to act hastily. Hate jumps into situations too quickly. Love is self-restraining. Love is nice to enemies. Christ is the greatest example to us. He constantly faced enmity and slander, but was slow to do anything about it.

Positively, love is kind. It takes trouble to be a means of blessing to the other person. Just as God makes His sun to shine upon the evil and the good, so the kindly person has a warm heart towards all people everywhere. Kindliness is prayerful about others. It prays for enemies. Paul asks us to deliberately estimate love above enthusiasm for charismatic life, above doctrine and intellectual skills, above great practical endeavours. He asks us to think of ourselves as spiritual weaklings and nonentities unless we are conscious that God is leading us into the pathways of love. We might gather a lot of attention to ourselves, as does a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. People might be impressed by our many skills and gifts. We may gain a reputation for sacrifice and dedication. But only love will bring us the approval of God. Only to people of love will Jesus say, “Well done!” God is love. We are only godly men and women if we become like Him in His loving patience and loving kindness. The challenge before us is a great one.

Love is free from jealousy. There is a spirit of rivalry deep in the nature of all of us. Love is free from boastfulness, free from scornfulness, free from self-centredness, free from resentment. It takes little notice when it is ill-treated. This is what the love of Jesus is. In Jesus God does not reckon our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19). Love is like this. We remember Jesus’ prayer that His enemies would be forgiven (Luke 23:34). “Love always endures, always believes, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor 13:7). This description tells us how love faces adversity from other people. It always endures. It bears up under the distress of hate or opposition or painful failure in another person. It always trusts. Love is the opposite of having a sceptical spirit. It never loses faith in the possibility that God will change the situation. Love always hopes. It is optimistic about the other person, without being gullible. Even if the situation is terrible now, love hopes for better things in the future. It maintains the hope that God will change the situation. It loves the other person enough to hope that change is coming. Love always perseveres. It does not easily give up. 1 Corinthians 13:8a is the conclusion at this point, as well as being the starting point of 13:8-13. “Love never fails.” This partly means that love never gives up. Even when rebuffed and refused, it goes on. Even when it finds no response in the other person it does not fall to the ground.

Love is being like Jesus. 1 Corinthians 13 could easily be a description of Jesus. Love is eternal, it will never end. Anything that does the will of God abides for ever and love certainly is doing the will of God. “Now at this time faith, love, these three things, are continuing. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13b). (Michael Eaton, 2008, page 19-21)

Boken finns även att köpa hos svenska nätbokhandlar.


What about the health, wealth and prosperity Gospel...? Här säger John Piper några väl valda ord om sin syn på saken...

RSS 2.0