Archive for April 27th, 2012

April 27, 2012

Why Enduring in Love Is Worth It

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Heb. 2:1
Full Text: Song 2; Heb. 2

Virtue | A persistent theme in Paul’s letters is love. Yet he doesn’t speak of love as a feeling that comes naturally; he speaks of it as a virtue to be pursued. N.T. Wright observes, “At every single point in Paul’s catalogue of what love does, and what love doesn’t do, we want to say, ‘Yes, I see what you mean. However, left to my own inclinations, I would be small-minded, unkind, jealous, fussy, puffed up, shameless … there are some things I wouldn’t bear, many things I wouldn’t believe, several things I wouldn’t be able to hope for, and a whole multitude that I wouldn’t endure. Left to myself, doing what comes naturally, I would fail.’ But the point of love is that it doesn’t. That is why love is a virtue” [1].

Endure | Hebrews was written to believers who had been Christians for several years and needed encouragement to persevere in love and faith. The writer exhorts, “Therefore” – since God has spoken decisively and completely through Jesus[2]“we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” [3]. In other words, “Do not neglect your great salvation! Pay attention to Jesus! Do not stop loving God and others!” [4]

Learn | Those of us who are not naturally loving people can be encouraged to know that love is a virtue to be pursued. Wright reflects, “[Love] is a language to be learned, a musical instrument to be practiced, a mountain to be climbed via some steep and tricky cliff paths” [5]. Yet, he argues, pursuing love is worth it: “It is one of the things that will last; one of the traits of character which provides a genuine anticipation of that complete humanness we are promised at the end. And it is one of the things, therefore, which can be anticipated in the present on the basis of the future goal, the telos, which is already given in Jesus Christ. It is part of the future which can be drawn down into the present” [6].

Prayer | Lord, You are love [7] and, in Christ, you are making us to be loving people by your Spirit. Thank you for promising to continue working in us until the day of Christ because, honestly, that’s how long it will take! As we confess that we are prone to wander, we ask you to give us endurance in our love and faith [8]. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Wright, N. T. (2010-02-14). After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (pp. 182-183). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition. For more information on N.T. Wright, see: here.  |  [2] See Heb. 1. See also 843 Acres, “Have you ever longed for God to speak?” 26 April 2012; John Piper, “In These Last Days, God Has Spoken by a Son.” 31 March 1996.  |  [3] Heb. 2:1 ESV |  [4] See Heb. 2:3  |  [5] Id. at 1.  |  [6] Id. at 1.  |  [7] See 1 John 4:8.  |  [8] There is a great verse in Robert Robinson’s hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (1758) that encourages endurance: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

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