“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ this way, we do so no longer.”
2 Corinthians 5:16
The church fosters unbelief when there is no significant difference in relationships between people in secular society and relationships between Christians in our spiritual community. The difference is achieved and sustained through a Christian’s ongoing commitment to obeying the scriptures. Regrettably, the fatigue of being different has caused many Christians to give up on the scriptures.
More and more Christians, whose stated conviction is to obey the scriptures alone, have begun to look to other sources to resolve difficult problems in their lives. The area in which we see the most significant drift is the building and management of relationshipw in the family of God.
The central cause for this drift comes from substituting secular standards for Biblical convictions. For many Christian the biblical conviction to love one another is being aggressively substituted with secular tolerance, promoting psychological acceptance rather than spiritual transformation. The biblical blueprint for relationship building does include tolerance and acceptance, but in a context far removed from how the secular world uses them.
Although the secular world has rightly determined that tolerance and acceptance are necessary for building successful and free societies, these efforts have had little or no effect on the hearts of the average citizen. While the passing of the civil rights act has extended civil rights to millions previously kept on the margins of the American Dream, it cannot motivate an individual who hates someone because of the color of their skin or country or origin to weave those same people into the social fabric of his or her life. Although acceptance and toleration alone may define success in secular society, secular society has failed to overcome distance, division and detachment. In God’s spiritual community we are called to love one another. This will require a much greater commitment than acceptance and toleration.
- What was the motivation behind Jesus’ interaction with the rich young man?
- Do you think it is possible to love someone you just met?
- In what way did Jesus love both the rich young man and the woman at the well?
- What negative reactions did Jesus risk in each interaction?
- How can we imitate Jesus in our own relationships, and interactions?
The following scriptures address the topic of love. Write out and categorize them based on their different themes within the topic of love.
- Leviticus 19:18, 19:34
- Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 30:6
- 1 Samuel 18:1, 2 Samuel 12:1-12
- Nehemiah 9:17
- Psalm 40:10, 52:3, 85:10, 119:113
- Proverbs 3:11-12, 9:8, 17:17, 27:5
- Ezekiel 33:32
- Joel 2:13
- Micah 6:8
- Matthew 5:43-46, 6:24, 22:36-40, 24:12
- Luke 6:32, 7:47, 11:42
- John 3:19, 5:41-44, 12:43, 13:1-17, 13:34-35, 14:15, 14:21-31, 15:9-10, 15:12-17, 17:23, 21:15-20
- Romans 8:35-39, 12:9, 12:10, 13:8, 13:10, 14:15
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 16:14
- 2 Corinthians 2:4, 5:14-15, 6:6, 12:14-15
- Galatians 2:20, 5:6, 5:13-14
- Ephesians 4:2, 4:15-16, 5:33
- Philippians 2:1-2
- Colossians 1:4-5, 3:12-14
- 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2:8, 3:12, 4:9-10
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3
- 1 Timothy 1:5, 4:12
- 2 Timothy 2:22
- Philemon 1:4-9
- Hebrews 6:10, 10:24
- James 2:8
- 1 Peter 1:22, 4:8
- 1 John 2:5, 2:10, 3:10, 3:11-18, 3:23, 4:7-21, 5:2-3
- 2 John 1:6
- How does Love and obedience relate to each other?
- Can we love God and not obey his word?
- Can you love someone and allow them to be disobedient to God’s word?
- Based on your study of the word love, what relationships in your life fall short of the biblical standard for love?
- Name one thing you could change that would begin to bring depth to your relationships.