We often hear that love should be our focus. Many of us have been loved poorly, but even those who have been loved well find love hard to define. Both The Beatles and God are in agreement that ‘Love is all you need.’ The difference is being able to define what love is. For John Lennon love was related to sexual freedom. It has been connected by artists over the last twenty years with strong emotions and sexual impulse. However, there is something about that kind of love which lacks nobility and sustainability. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, states that his prayer for them is that their love would grow in knowledge and depth of insight.
What the Bible presents as the goal here is to worship something or someone worthy of worship. Loving someone means being oriented or focused on them for their good. To live the best life, we need to be focused on the best. If God exists, God is the highest person. If the Bible is true, it requires that our heart, soul and mind be focused on God. This positive focus on God, lived out for him our daily lives, is the love to which God calls us. Studies show that people who live for a focus outside of themselves are more fulfilled and happy. However, our focus on personal fulfillment and happiness, in my opinion, has left us less content.
The Christian way is one of losing oneself in another. There is no fear in love, because the one the Christian focuses on is perfect. As they grow in their love and worship of God, the goodness of God flows out from them to others. In this way a Christian can sacrifice their own will for the common good, for unity, and to bless others. Many Christians do not have this kind of selfless love. They have a love of self where God has to fall in line with their own limited agenda. Surrender to God is the only real guarantee that he who began a good work in a Christian will bring it to completion.
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heartand, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.