Discipleship - Love ... The Foundational Principle

Posted by donna on March 6, 2018

love.jpg“Beloved let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7) ESV.

The early church father, John Chrysostom (345-407 AD) in his sermon, “Dying to Sin” writes, “For God is not so well pleased with being our Master as He is with being our Father….  God’s exceeding desire to be loved comes from loving exceedingly.”

God loves us extravagantly! He wants us to learn and grow to love Him with extravagance. He desires that we love others as the Golden Rule stipulates.

Growing up,I was always under the impression that to be a serious disciple of Jesus I had to acquire many skills. Through the Navigator’s program, I did just that. I memorized Scriptures, I learned about prayer, I took sessions on evangelism and on discipling new believers. It was excellent training and I highly recommend it to anyone, yet with a caution.

As I matured, well at least aged, it became increasingly evident to me that I was missing a key ingredient which I believe my instructors took for granted.  That single issue in the disciple’s life is extravagant love for God Himself.

The sermon by John Chrysostom spoke to me.  It related to the central ingredient in the life of any true disciple, the element of genuine love. The love for God, then poured out to other people, regardless of who they are.

Jesus taught us to love our enemies as well as our fellow Christians. Why? Jesus desired His disciples to internalize the love of God so fully that we would be transformed by it. It is only in radical, extravagant love that we show the true nature of God because God is love.

Many Christians, and even Christian leaders, love the teachings of Jesus better than they love Jesus. We may love being a ‘Christian’ more than being exactly like Christ. The whole goal of the Christian’s walk is to be like Jesus and so reflect the true image of God. The Holy Spirit is the transforming agent through which God’s love flows.

As we wrap up the “Four Chair Discipleship” discussions, I want us to realize that the love of God and love for God are indispensable to becoming a mature believer. How do we do this? By turning away from the idolatrous sin of loving anything more than God.

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 … “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not love I am nothing but a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so to remove mountains but have not love I am nothing ….”  Paul gets it. “These three things abide, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”

So, may it ever be.  


Willem Fietje

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