WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MASCULINE?

Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)
Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)

In He’s Golden…, insanitybytes22 makes the following observation.

Nightwind wrote a post the other day, “Feature Friday”, about masculinity, what it is, what it isn’t. I have a hard time defining masculinity myself,  a somewhat amusing thing really, because I know it when I see it but how do you even describe it? I of course think immediately, confidence, protection, provision, safety. How blessed I am to equate men with safety, but those are very subjective perceptions of masculinity, how they relate to me personally.

‘ post is about her husband, and she uses him as an example of what it means to be the male head of a household, her family. In effect, defines masculinity by providing an excellent example.

Look up the term “masculine” in the dictionary. You will learn almost nothing. The definition of “masculine” may lead you to the term “manly”, but all that will tell you is that we expect men to be strong and brave. Since we also expect women to be strong and brave, that won’t tell you much.

So what does it mean to be masculine? 200 – 300 years ago America was hardly ideal, but men knew what it meant to be masculine, and women wanted a masculine man. They want a man with character who could be depended upon. A woman wanted a man who wanted to be the father her children. A woman wanted a man who would cherish and protect her and their children.

So why is that picture at the beginning of this post? Jesus never married. He never had a family, or did He? Are you a Christian? Then you are a member of that church that Jesus gave His life to save and protect.

When our military awards its most coveted medals, what are they for? They are for those soldiers who risk their lives for others.

John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

If a man is willing to lay down his life for his friends, does that make him masculine? No. It is important, but a woman can lay down her life for her friends.

Ephesians 5:22-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

What makes a man a man is how he treats a woman. If he chooses one woman, and he gives his heart to her, and she gives her heart to him, a boy can become a man. If that boy has the virtue required to love, to protect, and to nurture his lady and their children year after year until their children are grown and death ends his marriage, then perhaps our Lord will declare him a man. If that boy is a man, then his children’s, his lady’s and God’s opinions of his masculinity will be the only ones that truly matter to him.

LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 3

Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text.
Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text. (from here)

In the last segment in this series, we considered How The Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State. Here we will consider what others have had to say.

A Review Of What Others Have To Say

Googling The “Idolization Of Love”

If we google “Idolization Of Love”, we won’t turn up much, just nine hits including this blog. What follows are the few hits that have relevant content.

Chewing the Cud: Alcibiades and Socrates Talk Life, Love and Nietzsche By John Taylor looks to be interesting.  Google has put some of the book online as a teaser. Here Taylor puts these words into the mouth of Alcibiades.

AlcibiadesIf you ladies want to know where “Alcibiades” was going with that, I am afraid you have to get a copy of the book. The preview did not include the next page.

The most surprising hit turned up the quote below. Those are the words of a college student, a student athlete, in response to the question in bold print.

What is the most important societal issue facing college students?   The most important societal issue plaguing college students, in my opinion, is the idolization of love, superficiality and materialism, entitlement, and the infantilizing of the college student. Culture ingrains these things in all our heads and it hurts our worldview and affects our lives in a great many ways. The most pressing of these issues is the infantilizing of the college student. By coddling college students, it strips them of a meaningful education, cheats them of preparation for the real world, and prevents them from growing up. (from here (www.cacsports.com))

It is a personal prejudice, but the last thing I expect of athletes is thoughtfulness. It seems, however, that cross-country runners have plenty of time to think.

The most relevant hit? In the form of a debate between Rev. Scott Elliott and the blogger, duanetoops, Dialogues of a Christian Atheist, pt.2 gets into the subject of the nature of God.

Here is a sample of Elliott’s argument.

Rev. Elliott: I have yet to find a way to satisfactorily convey my conviction that this love siren and loving way we are drawn to can also –if we want or choose–safely, sanely, rationally be named God. This experience of being we are in has that siren you/we hear in it, and if we go to where it is beckoning we end up loving. We don’t have to call it God; we can believe it is not God. It only matters because it means (aside from semanitics) that we are on the same page, love is the point. And love by any other name is still love. (Or as this theologian spins it, if God is experienced as love –a very Biblically sound claim– then love by any other name is still God). (from here)

How did duanetoops sum up his opposition to that sort of argument?

Response: I would whole heartedly agree that the “idolization of love” ( I Love that by the way) is most central. It is compelling above all else. Here we are precisely on the same page, where we diverge perhaps is that I am content simply with “love,” this is a word powerful enough, that doesn’t necessarily need to be renamed. I love that you said “if we choose to” we can call it God, I can willingly admit that I “choose” to just let love be love and let love be enough. (from here)

What Is The Opposite Of Love

Why is the idolization of love so foolish? God is not just an emotion.  We cannot properly express love by just feeling. We express love by caring enough to behave wisely.

Consider how well this Bible passage describes modern America.

Revelation 3:14-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

What was the problem in Laodicea? They knew the truth, but they didn’t care enough to do anything. God loved them. They were rich, and that was all that mattered to them. The Christians of Laodicea were indifferent.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ― Elie Wiesel (from here)

In What Is The Opposite Of Love? A Bible Study, Jack Wellman ends his article with these words.

Love and discipline are joined at the hip and in a similar way, love and hate are closely related but the polar opposite of love is indifference or apathy. You could not care any less when you do nothing to help others. The opposite of love then is not hate, it is apathy or indifference, and it is one of the cruelest of all human responses. There is no excuse for us to not tell others of the coming Day of Judgment; it is one of the greatest acts of love you could ever display. The opposite of love is that you don’t even care, you are indifferent, and you are apathetic. In short, you have no love for others, only for yourself. I am thankful that Jesus didn’t act in such a way (John 3:16). (from here)

When we make love our idol, we set aside God Himself. We become so absorbed in the fact God loves us that we forget to love God in return. We don’t do what He told us to do, love each other.

A Smattering Of Related Posts And Articles

Before continuing, consider reading Psalm 96. As Christians, we have the opportunity to know God. We can declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples. However, to do that properly, we must take the time to know God.

Finding the True God by Fr. Stephen Freeman provides a viewpoint from the Orthodox Church in America.

Freeman has a legitimate concern. “Human beings have a tendency to invent idols.” Here he says something I think very good.

In order to know God, you first have to admit that you don’t know Him.

Belief in God is not the same thing as the acceptance of a set of propositions. Even if the propositions are “supported by the Scriptures,” that entire interpretive exercise is as subject to the imagination and idolatry as pure fantasy. Most Christians whom I know who have a very distorted view of God have Scripture to support their notions.

Christ makes a very key statement on the knowledge of God:

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Mat 11:27)

Since Freeman has contemplated the matter carefully, it is worth considering what else Freeman has to say.

Since we are all human, it is also worth considering what others have to say.

Do you have a primitive belief? by Colorstorm makes the point that the Bible’s age does not make it irrelevant. Its wisdom and what it says about God is timeless.

[Is] “God our Master” ? by altruistico considers The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-20) [Psalm 123:1-4]. observes what the story has to say about our relationship with God. The story compares us to God’s servants, slaves in that day and age. Since we like to see ourselves as free, that is quite disturbing.

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “they should make an image” by Rob Barkman looks at Rev 13:14 KJV.  Just how seriously does God regard our idol-making?

The Byproduct Of Idolatry by compares the idolatry of today with the idolatry of ancient Israel. Be Still considers how the Bible describes God.

God Cannot be Mocked by Don Merritt points out a difficult truth. God expects us to make good choices. A Troubling Conversation illustrates the challenges involved.

 

LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 2

fatter_disasterWe live in era when the world seems to be unraveling. Is it unraveling? If it is unraveling, why?

Here we continue with part 2 of LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? What is the subject?

How The Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State

What Is Idol Worship?

Word Origin and History for idoln. mid-13c.,

“image of a deity as an object of (pagan) worship,” from Old French idole “idol, graven image, pagan god,” from Late Latin idolum “image (mental or physical), form,” used in Church Latin for “false god,” from Greek eidolon “appearance, reflection in water or a mirror,” later “mental image, apparition, phantom,” also “material image, statue,” from eidos “form” (see -oid ). Figurative sense of “something idolized” is first recorded 1560s (in Middle English the figurative sense was “someone who is false or untrustworthy”). Meaning “a person so adored” is from 1590s. (from here)

When we idolize something, we put that person, place, or thing before our Creator. We foolishly put our faith in a person, place, or thing that is not worthy of such trust (Note again the origin of the word “idol”.). For the sake of what we can get from our idol, we sacrifice our self (in service) to our idol, and we risk our soul. We don’t “love” our idol, but it does consume us when we try use it to get what we want.

At gotquestions.org, here is how the author begins his post on the differences between ancient and modern idolatry.

Question: “What are some modern forms of idolatry?”

Answer: All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms. (continued here)

The various forms he lists involve stuff (materialism), self (pride), state (mankind), and self-indulgence (various forms of gluttony).

How Does The Idolization of Love Corrupt The Church?

Most Christians have memorized at least one passage in the Bible. We call it The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), but it is really a model prayer. This prayer puts the focus on God and obedience to Him. When we recite it — and mean what we say — we humble ourselves and beg forgiveness for our sins. But this is not the way prideful men want to imagine God, and we have a wonderful capacity for self-delusion.  So it is that once we take our eyes off God, we focus upon what we want. In Grammar Lesson – ‘AS’ and ‘AND’, irtfyblog provides an example of how that works. Here is an excerpt.

So, knowing how a word is defined and used in a specific language, a reader can develop a better understanding of what the writer is trying to convey. Hence, the command:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Since we know that ‘As’ is defined as a word used to compare and refer to the extent or degree of something, we can then see that the meaning of the command is really:  “Love your neighbor in comparison to or to the degree of which you love yourself.”

If God had said, “Love your neighbor AND love yourself,” that would have changed the meaning of the command entirely.

Since we very much like to love ourselves, so it is that many of us look for excuses to change the meaning of the Bible. When the folks at gotquestions.org addressed this question, “Why is idol worship such a powerful temptation?”, they considered this matter.

There is another form of idolatry prevalent today. Its growth is fostered by cultures that continue to drift away from sound biblical teaching, just as the apostle Paul warned us, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). In these pluralistic, liberal times, many cultures have, to a large degree, redefined God. We have forsaken the God revealed to us in Scripture and have recast Him to comply with our own inclinations and desires—a “kinder and gentler” god who is infinitely more tolerant than the One revealed in Scripture. One who is less demanding and less judgmental and who will tolerate many lifestyles without placing guilt on anyone’s shoulders. As this idolatry is propagated by churches around the world, many disillusioned congregants understandably believe they are worshipping the one, true God. However, these made-over gods are created by man, and to worship them is to worship idols. Worshipping a god of one’s own making, however, is particularly tempting for many whose habits and lifestyles and drives and desires are not in harmony with Scripture.

I call this form of idolatry the idolization of “love”.

How do our churches support the idolization of “love”? So that we can focus on the God of Love, we ignore much of scripture. We ignore Hell. We ignore the condemnation of sin. Fearing we deserve the same, we ignore the stories of Israel’s sins and suffering. We also ignore the sins and the suffering of Israel’s enemies, of Sodom and Gomorrah, of the peoples before Noah’s Flood, of Cain, and of Adam and Eve. Refusing to seriously consider the future, we set aside the coming Wrath of God in Revelation.

When was the last time your pastor warned of Hell and damnation? Does your pastor slyly step past the scary parts of the Bible? How many people do you know who read those parts? How many people do you know who have read the Bible?

Is there a Hell? Is there a punishment for sin? If not, then why did Jesus die upon that cross?

We have to study and revere the whole Word of God. Any church that refuses to do that will in time unravel.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32 New King James Version (NKJV)

Beware of False Gods

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

For the sake of what they imagine they could get from a demon god called Molech, the Canaanites and their Hebrew imitators burned their children alive.  For the sake of distorted notions of love, we abort hundreds of thousands of children every year.

How Does The Idolization of Love Corrupt The State?

Churches Don’t Provide Character Education

When churches begin preaching sloppy notions about love and ignore much of the Bible, the morals of a nation must suffer. Then the nation itself must suffer. Without a moral people, we cannot make a constitutional republic work. Neither the people nor their leaders will restrain themselves and abide by the law.

There is a certain irony in that. Consider all the rules, regulations and laws we suffer under now, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. In a highly technical society with potentially lethal hand-held power tools; big and even more dangerous cars, buses, and trunks; powerful chemicals; and so forth, we have to have lots of rules, regulations and laws. We cannot just point to a song and chant “What the world needs now is love, sweet love”. We have to understand that loving your neighbor means stopping at red lights. In fact, we have to teach our children and each other what real and sincere love looks like.

Yet too many Christian churches do not teach about the effort required to love. They should. Consider how Jesus summarized the Bible.

Matthew 22:36-40 New King James Version (NKJV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Did Jesus say that this passage is all we need to know? Didn’t Jesus spend three years teaching His apostles. Did not even the Apostle Paul, a brilliant scholar, have to spend 2 – 3 years in the desert before he began his work as an apostle (Galatians 1:11-18). For similar reasons, each of us needs to study the whole Bible. Just as the apostles could not teach others how to be good Christians without the instruction of Jesus, we cannot properly live as good Christians without studying the Bible.

An Example Of The Problem

The Bible is a book of wisdom that tells us how we should try to live with each other. Government is an institution we created to keep us from destroying each other. Because we must empower government to control us, government is an institution we can either use properly or abuse.

Here is a very simple, straightforward example. The Bible gives us a personal responsibility to love and help each other. The Bible speaks of voluntary giving, not government-run charity. Yet we have let legions of politicians persuade us that they have the right to take money some people and give it to other people. These politicians give us excuses. “It is for the children.” “It is for the disabled.” “It is for the old.” And so forth.

What at bottom is the excuse for government-run charity — welfare? The politicians defend the welfare state as modern man’s means for loving his neighbor. In fact, what has happened is that the conniving politicians who run these schemes just create large voting constituencies dependent on government handouts.

Government cannot love us. Government welfare is not about love; it is about votes. The Bible does not make exceptions for government handouts. Even when we use the government to do it, when we take the property of another person, that is stealing.

Government Cannot Provide Character Education

Since the time we turned the education of our children over to politicians, each succeeding generation has had less and less familiarity with the Bible. What have the politicians put in its place? It is a vague thing we call Secularism.

Why would our leaders choose to do such a thing? Why would they set aside the Bible, which contains invaluable wisdom, for Secularism. Well, there is nothing new in this. In fact, when Americans chose to prevent the government from establishing a state religion, that was new. Unfortunately, we risk losing what they won.

In the 1830’s Americans started sending their children to schools run by their local governments. Those public schools, ostensibly for the sake of religious freedom, gradually begin separating the religious content out of the curriculum. When state governments and the Federal Government sought to stick their noses into the government-run education racket, Federal and state officials accelerated the process of separating out religious education content. Hence, when the Supreme Court ruled against school prayer, the judges merely finished a process that was almost complete.

Unfortunately, a secular education cannot and does not instill virtue into children.  Therefore, everyone expected parents and churches to somehow make up for this deficit, but relatively few parents and churches ever taught children what was needful. In fact, as some have observed, the way the public schools teach subjects like sex education (handing out condoms to teenagers.) and history (religion starts wars) is often at odds with what churches and parents want children to learn.

Conclusion

If we want to save our republic, we have to focus on a more serious problem. We each have to repair the damage to our souls. We must study the Bible.

2 Chronicles 34 tells the story of a revival in Judah. The priests had lost the Book of the Law in the temple.  When the priests finally began looking towards God again, they then were able to find His Word again (in the Temple where they lost it). The question for today is whether we can do the same.


Continued: A Review Of What Others Have To Say

LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE?

love is all you needWhy I Believe In God, Not Love

Is love all you need? We live in a time when many offer “love” as the solution for every problem. Consider What the World Needs Now Is Love By The Chambers Brothers, for example.

What did Jesus intend when He used the word “love”? What would He have thought of that song?

Background

What motivated this post? On the post OF TWISTED WORDS => LANGUAGE TO DIVIDE AND TO CONQUER, tsalmon took the debate in an unexpected direction. Apparently, he decided that that post was broken and could be repaired with an infusion of love. When Keith DeHavelle, expressed sadness (here), I decided I might be pressing on a sensitive nerve a bit too carelessly. So here is a more careful explanation of why I believe in God, not love.

Humility And Christian Love

The ancient pagans did not consider humility a virtue. The royal class fashioned itself nearer to the gods than the subordinate classes. The king presented himself as the son of a god or as a god in his own right. Why would a king exhibit humility before cattle? What would possess the son of a god to love cattle? Why would the nobility, the friends of the king love cattle?

Jesus initiated a change. In his book, Who Is This Man?, John Ortberg examines the effect Jesus’ life has had upon our world. Because we are so immersed in our own culture and the changes instituted by Jesus, few American Christians appreciate the magnitude of the differences between our culture and that of the ancients. Jesus actually taught us to see each other differently. He taught us to love differently.

Jesus demonstrated God shows no partiality. Here the Apostle Paul put it explicitly.

Galatians 3:28 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

How did Jesus teach us to love each other? I wrote a series of three posts (that ended here, A BIBLE STUDY: ARE CHRISTIANS SUPPOSE TO LOVE EVERYONE THE SAME WAY? — PART 3) that consider what the Bible has to say about love. Unlike us, the ancients had different words for different types of love. The second post describes agape love.

agape – the deepest, greatest form of love, it is sacrificial and unconditional, used in the Bible

(from here)

Jesus taught that Christians should strive to love even their enemies. We must care about everyone, even people we don’t like.  We must strive to lead all our brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ, not just certain people.

John 1:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus taught there is only one God, and we that we can all be His children. He made it clear that because Our Lord cares for each of us even kings should love and care for their people.

Matthew 23:11-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Christian love, then, begins in humility to God.  That is true even in marriage. The Bible calls upon a husband to love his wife as Jesus loved the church, and it calls upon a wife to so conduct herself as to lead her husband to Christ.

WHY DOES GOD WANT US TO LOVE?

Imagine life as slave, a drudge tied to the land. Imagine living a seemingly pointless life, existing to do nothing more than to labor for an uncaring lord. Jesus spoke to the hopeless. He said God loves us. He even gave the slaves and the downtrodden the task of giving His message to — and saving — those who sought to be their masters. Before any sought to free the bodies of the enslaved, Jesus freed their hearts to love.

Why is it important to God that we love Him?

1 John 4:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

We learn to love God by loving each other, and we strive to be obedient to God because we love Him.

No one knows the mind of God. We only know that the Bible speaks of Him as our Father and of us as His children. Children obey their father and mother to pleased them because they love them. Parents receive the love and obedience of their children with pleasure. Does God, our Father, receive our love and obedience, our worship, with pleasure? Apparently, He does.

Warping The Message Of Love

What has happened to that once great message of Christian love? Doesn’t it still exist? Don’t we fill the air with love songs? Don’t our books, our movies, even our comics all revolve around love’s glories and tragedies? Don’t each of us crave love relationships? Yes, but the problem is that we have made an idol of love. Christians do not love “love”. What Christians love is God.

Love is only one of many virtues. Consider how many virtues Ben Franklin strove to acquire (BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON PRIDE AND HUMILITY). Franklin did not even put “love” on his list. Perhaps he understood that to love properly he to have all those other virtues.

Love enables us to care for each other. Love enables us to worship God, but love is a means, not an object in and of itself. When the Apostle Paul spoke of love in 1 Corinthians 13, he spoke of love as the greatest of the virtues, the most desirable gift. And he did so in an age when men sought to be honored, not to serve. When we love someone, we desire to serve them.

When Apostle Paul spoke of love, he did not propose that we seek only the gift of love. He said we should seek all the fruits of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

What is love worth if we find no joy in it? Without peace within ourselves, can we love another? If we are unwilling to suffer the faults of another, can we love them? If we don’t know how to be kind, how do we show our love? If we don’t know the difference between good and evil — if we don’t have the wisdom to discern the difference, won’t our service others be corrupt? If we are unfaithful won’t our service to others be inconstant? If we cannot control our self — if we are rough and harsh — how can we serve another without hurting them?

God is the sum of all virtue. He is Perfect and Holy. When we focus on Him and seek to be like His Son, we seek all the fruits of the Spirit, not just Love. Only then can we perfect our love.

Conclusion

In Deuteronomy 5, the Bible recapitulates the Ten Commandments. In Deuteronomy 6, the Bible explains that if we love God we will obey Him.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Good News Translation (GNT)

“Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

So it is that when we love each other we begin to learn how to worship God.

That’s why I believe in God, not love.

—————–

Continued: How the Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State