Words of Worth

“That your love may abound more and more…”

February 7, 2016

that your love

“To love the whole world for me is a chore,

My only real problem is the guy next door.”

–C. W.  Vanderbergh

Most people do not find it difficult to love nice people, but when it comes to loving someone who is different, difficult, or frequently in our company, love can become a challenge. Yet we are commanded in Scripture, to “…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)  Who better than the apostle Paul to model this for us?

Ten years after the apostle Paul had founded the church at Philippi, he writes to the believers there the letter which is known as the epistle to the Philippians.  In this letter, Paul was very clear about his deep sense of attachment to the diverse saints at Philippi. He had been separated from them because of his imprisonment in Rome, but his love for them had not diminished:

“For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 1:8)

Paul had an agape love for the Philippians, a love like the affection of Christ Jesus, a love that wanted what was in their best interest. And he expressed that love in action by remembering them and giving thanks to God for them (1:3), keeping them in his heart (1:7), longing for them (1:8), and praying for them, “… that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.” (1:9) The Greek picture for the word, “abound” is one of a pot sitting under a giant waterfall with the water flowing over all its sides. What a great reminder that no matter how much we already love someone, we can still love them more, and not in a blind love sort of way, but in a mature spiritual sense of purity and beauty.

It is one thing to love someone.  It is quite another to express that love.  Who of us wouldn’t agree that unexpressed love is useless to us? Love that is not backed with action does not meet God’s standard of loving.  C. S. Lewis reminds us:

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did.  As soon as we do this, we will learn one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love them.”

(Mere Christianity, 1952, 113-14)

Speaking of love, I’d like to take this opportunity to honor my very loving parents, Americo and Gloria Vasso, who will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary on February 8, 2016.  So glad they have loved not only the larger world, but also each other (their most immediate neighbor)!  My brothers and I have seen their love for each other abound and witnessed the sincere actions behind their endearing “I love you’s” to each other.  Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!  Thank you for being an outstanding example of covenant love!  Thank you for making me your favorite child!

P.S. Many of you who know me, know my parents and if you wanted to wish them well you can find them on Facebook at “Mertz Vasso”.  Even if you don’t know them and want to congratulate them, please feel free.  I know it would be encouraging to them.

May your love abound more and more……

 

 

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