Posts tagged ‘for the love’

September 21, 2015

Are we arrogant and judgmental? Do we subtly (or overtly) teach our children to suspect anyone ‘other’? Do we put mainly defensive spiritual tools in our kids’ hands, fostering an ‘against them’ rather than ‘for them’ posture? Do we emphasize behavior over character? Because good behavior won’t guarantee anything. If they don’t love Jesus and people, it matters zero if they remain virgins and don’t say the F-word. We must shepherd their hearts, not just their hemlines.

Jesus operates beyond the tidy boundaries of good behavior. Rather than simply enforce His rules, we should show our kids His kingdom. That’s where they’ll discover a Savior to fall in love with. Out where life is messy and relationships are complicated. Where the poor struggle and grace is a lifeline. If we want to raise disciples, we’d better take them to where Jesus is working, because they’ll discover His appeal more quickly in the field than in sanitized church classrooms or on behavior charts.

– Jen Hatmaker, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, 89-90.

A good word, not just for parents and other adults who care for young people, but also for all who want to be disciples ourselves.

Notice the “this and more” language – it’s not that morality doesn’t matter; it’s that it’s insufficient. “Being good” sucks as a motive, and is tantamount to viewing our behavior as a source of justifying righteousness. Y’all. If we rely on our righteousness for our identity or salvation, we are sunk, even if we’re “nice people.” Being good is also insufficient as a way of life. It’s not that we shouldn’t be good, but love is so much bigger than “behaving,” and it is a life of love we are called to as believers, not a life of moralism. I’m thinking of 1 Corinthians 13 and how useless all sorts of good things (even really flashy spiritual gifts) are if their possessor lacks love. These things are deeply connected. In John’s first letter, he writes a great deal about love,* paying special attention to the love of one’s neighbor. Then, at the end of his letter, he writes, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” So in case we were thinking, “Cool – love God and love people, and all that law stuff takes a back seat,” we are headed off at the pass. Love and obedience. Love by obedience.

Let’s stir up love in our hearts and pursue righteousness by chasing Jesus Christ, the Righteous, Whose Name is Love.


* He also writes a lot about sin and lawlessness. That 1 John 5 passage is hardly the first time the righteous living issue comes up in the letter.

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