Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Love is costly."

I have been reading a small book recently called, The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper.
Cover to cover it is no more than 96 pages (and I am on page 55) but has been so convicting and encouraging. I really enjoy reading Mr. Piper's blog and the books that he has written, and this one is no exception.
This book is like a smaller, condensed version of Desiring God. Both books use Psalm 27:4 as a foundation,
One thing I have asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in His temple.

Also, on of my favorite quotes, "Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee"
by St. Augustine. I would highly recommend it as a companion in your daily devotionals;
you could comfortably read a chapter a day and be very blessed and convicted!
There is a particular chapter in the book that has had a great impact on me, called

"Pursue Your Joy in the Joy of the Beloved"

One of the bits that stood out for me was a quote by Jonathan Edwards in regards to the proper gain a person receives from loving someone:

In some sense the most benevolent, generous person in the world
seeks his own happiness in doing good to others,
because he places his happiness in their good.
His mind is so enlarged as to take them, as it were, into himself.
Thus when they are happy, he feels it;
he partakes with them, and is happy in their happiness.

It is here that I began my mental struggle.

I go back and forth between praying for this quality in my life, desiring to be that selfless; then some experience in the past of "Love gone wrong" gets in the way.
Do you have someone like that in your life?
For example, this person in my life often brings to mind the verse in James 4:17,
"Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."

The struggle went away as I continued reading. I realized that one of the main issues was that I was afraid to love and not be loved in return.

I had an issue with the purpose of loving someone when that love does not come easily.

However, Mr. Piper went on to clarify for me that,

"The pursuit of true gain is an essential motive for every good deed."

So what is genuine love? And how do I identify it? What is the difference between truly loving someone and simply running off an emotional high?
Well, Mr. Piper lists four characteristics of genuine love.
(I won't write the entire explanation because I want you to read the book and not just this post.)

~Genuine love is a work of divine grace.
~This experience of His grace will fill you with His joy.
~That joy in His grace will overflow in generosity to meet the needs of others.
~Will instill a desire to give beyond your own ability.

"Love is the overflow and expansion of joy in God, which gladly meets the needs of others.
Love is not merely the passive overflow, but the aggressive extension and expansion and completion of joy in God..."

I do realize the majority of this post is someone else's words and thoughts but just know it is not because I wanted to write an "easy post" filled with deep quotes and the meaningful words of great men.
Like I said in the beginning, this book has made a great impact on me and this is the sort of thing that happens after I read a book like this: I want to buy a copy for all my friends and the mailman!

I am a highly emotional, sentimental person (suprise, suprise); the sort that can't just befriend someone; I want to bring them into the depths of a friendship after the first meeting. It's not always the best thing but I am still learning :)
There is so much more I would like to say about this chapter, but I'll end with a quote
(Read above).

"If we took no pleasure in the good of others,
we would feel no pain when the good is impeded.
So make no mistake,
love is on a passionate pursuit to satisfy our deepest longings in the
God-centered good of the beloved....
Love costs you your life in this world.
But in the world to come the joys of eternal life are more than sufficient reward."

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin