Does Love Matter like the Moon or the Sun?

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April 10, 2021

Philippians 1:9-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

CONSIDER THIS

Over the years I have held many different conceptions and misconceptions of the Christian faith and what it is really about. First it was about good, moral training—telling the truth and refraining from stealing from my mother’s purse and not killing my sisters and essential stuff like that. Then it became about going to heaven and not going to hell and making sure I had the software agreement with Jesus right. Then it shifted to making sure I showed up for church and kept my life between the ditches. Next came self-improvement and living a fulfilling life. After that came an awakening to a call to serve the church, and growing the church became the thing. At fifty, I think I may be finally coming to the heart of it all. Paul’s prayer in today’s text clarifies it for us:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Maybe it was necessary to go through all these stages and phases. I wonder, though, what if someone had taught me this from the start—that it was about love, not the flimsy cultural construct that gets passed off as love but the supernatural reality of the truth and power of God that alone changes people and situations?

Love was always there, kind of like the moon—something you see and believe but otherwise salute as an amazing ideal. You always knew the moon mattered and people had been there but that was about it. Like going to the moon, you always knew it was possible to become a person of love, just not practical. I knew I would never go there because even though it was possible, it would not be possible for me. My notion of the love of God would be like my relationship with the moon. I would always know it was there, and from time to time i would notice it and at other times even gaze upon it, but otherwise I would need to focus my energies on revolving around the sun, which felt more like making a living and raising a family and all the other things one does to make a life. The moon would revolve around me while I revolved around the sun.

If there is one thing I have learned and continue to learn and will need to relearn every day for the rest of my life it is this: love is the sun. The love of God in Jesus Christ is the white-hot, blazing sun of all reality. No sun means no light. No sun means no life. No sun means no order. Just as everything must revolve around the sun, everything must revolve around the love of God. It is the only power. It is the organizing center. It is the core principle of all order. The love of God in Jesus Christ is the light of the world. It is the life of the world. Until we understand this, all of life, work, faith, religion, church will exist in some semblance of managed chaos.

Grasping this and all its myriad and miraculous implications is the very essence of Paul’s prayer.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Love is the center and the circumference. Love is the means and the end, the lock and the key. I see this opening prayer as the governing dynamic of the whole letter. Paul will try to explain it, but it can only be revealed to someone. This is why Paul prays. And it’s why we must pray our way through it with him. Come, Holy Spirit!

THE PRAYER

And this is my prayer: that my love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you and I will be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Has the Love of God been more like the moon for you or is it becoming the sun?
  2. Do you think we must pass through all these approximations of what the Christian faith is all about or could we get to the heart of the matter much earlier in our journey? Reflect on that.
  3. If it is not about love, what is it about?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that the goal of the Christian faith is to reflect the pure image of God’s love as revealed in Jesus Christ. Some of us may arrive there sooner than others all according to God’s grace. I believe the determining factor is our willingness to sacrifice our own self will as per Romans 12:1,2. Ironically, I think success in this life from a worldly perspective, may actually work against us. This prayer of Paul’s is one I often pray myself.

  2. After being a good church going Methodist/United Methodist for most of my life–an experience that was both beneficial and frustrating–I finally finally wandered off and came up with a better grasp of the Christian faith via the Heidelberg Catechism and a current book about it. All the muddled pieces of understanding i had been packing around finally had a home in a much larger fantastic understanding that engaged my intellect. Christianity no longer felt like rocket science, it was simply unfathomable. It was an amazing mountain top experience with immediate valley consequences because each revelation was immediately followed by the question, “Why was I not taught this a long time ago?”. I went on to read a couple of other current books about the Heidelberg; turns out my question is not an uncommon response to engaging the Heidelberg.

    I have been living in the fall-out of that encounter ever since.

  3. Unless we journey we do not arrive. I’m pretty convinced the Lord gives us life that we might experience all of it, dark and light, so we can be excellent companions for Him throughout eternity. I only have one comment about the light–sun or moon–our Heavenly Father resurrected His Son in the darkness of the tomb. Hence we are also born out of the darkness of our mother’s womb into the light. He does not need light to bring life, but we need it to find our way to Him. Amen.

  4. When God plucks you from the muck and the mire there are no steps. When you are delivered from dark to light there is only a wanting to understand what happened and by who? The search to discover who this God is, that delivered me has been going on for 40 years and I am still learning.

    God bought me out of darkness into the love of his light. Once I learned that it was his will to love in me and through me, I was up for the challenge. I have loved those who used me, lie to me and deceived me. It was the best of times and the worst. Having God love through you, needs the opportunity to love your enemies. With out someone rejecting you and despising you, how else can you prove your love walk. Again, it was the best of times and the worst, but they made me who I am today so, I say thank you Jesus.

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