Love’s Efficiency

by Lester Young

To love one another as Jesus commanded (um, yes, commanded – not suggested) is undoubtedly a good thing. Even mathematics helps prove that truth. (C’mon, you remember mathematics – those that have been out of high school for a minute or two might more readily recall it by the quaint title of ‘math’…?) I’ll show you: that good ‘ole transitive property states, “If a = b and b = c, then a = c.” Ring a bell? Well, then, just by doing a little judicious substitution, we come to find that “if God is good and God is love, then love is good.” Simple, straightforward…case closed. (…forgive me, I’m a math major.)

Okay, since some of you have inexplicably developed spontaneous headaches, I guess I’ll move on. Yes, to love is certainly good. And, to love with the love of God is to operate in life at the highest level obtainable, period (John 15:12-13; 1 John 4:16-17). It’s a lofty goal, but one that we all, deep down, would like to get to. But, just between you and me, don’t you sometimes get the feeling that God is more concerned about everybody else around than He is about you? Have you ever thought quietly to yourself, “Lord, why are You on me to love [somebody – anybody] more? You know my heart – You know I’ve tried…why don’t You say something to them about treating me better?!” (No, it isn’t just you who thinks that stuff.)

Well, let me say this about that: First, selfishness (which is precisely where such thoughts are born from) could not be more opposite from the Scriptural picture of what love is; because Love gives, and it does so without yielding to a single thought about its own desires or welfare (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 John 4:10). (And, by the way, self-pity – the “Oh, poor me, me, me” syndrome – falls under that same broad category; the operative word being, of course, ‘self.’)

Second, what we have often failed to realize (me included) is that when dealing with a situation, God will always attempt to go to the heart – the root cause – of the matter (Matthew 3:10). However, that being the case, discernible results often may not become apparent immediately (Mark 11:14-20). And, so, we sit there confused (and a little bit resentful), wondering why God’s leading us to do such-and-such, when that such-and-such doesn’t seem to have anything remotely to do with the problem at hand or our specific need.

But, that’s where love and trust come in. The Lord Jesus said, “He who knows and obeys My commands is the one who loves Me (John 14:21, 23). He also said, “If you keep my commands, you’ll abide in [protected by] My love; just [in the same degree and level of protection] as I’ve kept My Father’s commands, and abide in His love” (John 15:10). Now, that doesn’t just mean the specific command to “love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12); it means obedience to whatever command He gives us – whatever He tells us to do, whether we immediately understand it or not. And this is where ‘trust’ must be applied on our part.

We have to remember that God is not only acutely aware of each and every need we have (Matthew 6:8, 32), He’s also able to see The Big Picture – the 376 things coming down the road at us that we can’t possibly be aware of by just our physical senses. He knows what He’s doing, and He knows that ‘a little pressure applied right here’ will cause the desired effect to manifest over there. That’s why the ‘obedience’ portion of love is so crucial. God’s not going to explain Himself in every detail to us – just ask Job how that worked out for him. He expects us always to simply trust Him and His personal love for us (Ephesians 3:17; 1 John 4:16) – and thereby be confident in His directions to us.

Of course, the ‘love one another as I’ve loved you’ part is the Lord’s main command for us; and if we do nothing else, we should be sure to ‘do’ that one (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:20). And, yet, we’re not given that command just so God can use us to make other people happy and get a better Name for Himself at our expense. No; Jesus tells us there’s another specific reason that we’re chosen and ordained to love and ‘bring forth the fruits’ of God’s Spirit to the surrounding world: “[so] that whatever you ask of the Father in My [Jesus’] Name, He will give it [to] you” (John 15:16). Did you hear that? Sounds to me a lot like He’s actually trying to get stuff to us, not keep things away from us.

So, when we keep ourselves walking in love as Jesus commands, we really don’t have to concern ourselves with ‘ourselves.’ That faithful action on our part gives God the opening He needs to take care of everything concerning us and to give us everything we desire (Psalm 37:4; Romans 4:13). I guess it’s no wonder Jesus told His disciples to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these [other] things will be added to you” [as well] (Matthew 6:33). Our loving others will not only benefit them, it will ultimately greatly benefit us, too! Our God can really get a lot of mileage out of things, can’t He?

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6 Comments to “Love’s Efficiency”

  1. God bless you for sharing this message, Lester.

  2. Amen. Love is the greatest gift of all. As we begin to take on God’s characteristics, we become more loving. Love comes through as we develop other moral qualities like forgiveness, compassion, thankfulness, acceptance, etc. Let us not forget to show that same love to ourselves as well.

    • Hi Pat.

      Quite right…all the qualities you mentioned are inherent parts of ‘love’ as described in 1 Corinthians 13…and as we practice them, we’ll automatically be practicing love. God bless, you, Pat!

      Lester

  3. Hi,
    I enjoyed your article and again was challenged to look at my own ways of loving people. Sometimes it is so difficult to love without wanting something back. That is the human element that I think most of us will be fighting so long as we live. I love deeply the verse from First John that say obeying God’s commands is love. Treating my sisters and brothers, treating people as I would like to be treated is loving. You see, your blog article has me thinking.
    Great article, Lester.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

    • Hi Patricia.

      lol Then I’ve done my job. Contending with ‘being human’ is indeed a task we’ll all be faced with until, as Paul said, “this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53). But, in Christ, we’ll win that, too. Thanks, as always, for your kind words!

      Lester

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