Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Real Test of Love

From Elisabeth Elliot - A Lamp for My Feet:

The Real Test of Love

It is not difficult to imagine, in certain moods and settings, that we love people. We may feel expansive and good-natured for a variety of reasons--our own good health or digestion, for example, or beautiful weather, comfortable circumstances, nice folks doing nice things for us. The Bible is a sword that cuts through mere sentiment. It tells us that the accurate test of our love for God's children is obedience to God. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments" (1 Jn 5:2 RSV). It is an objective test, not a subjective one. Love as the Bible defines it is perceptible through action rather than through mere feeling. It is not, as Eric Alexander of Scotland put it, a "glandular condition."

Much of the talk nowadays about loving one another is soupy and silly. It will not stand the biblical test. Love for people goes hand-in-hand with love for God--if you don't love the brother you see, how can you love the God you don't see? Loving God requires submission to his discipline--He rebukes, chastens, refines with fire, purifies by trial. Do we love Him enough to say yes to all that? Do we love others enough to encourage endurance in them?

Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded Love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

(Charles Wesley)

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