The reciprocity of friendship is now back in Paul's court. Paul is trying to say something concrete about the eternal God and God's relationship to his people. 7 - But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that. Paul lays out the reciprocal nature of the relationships between husband and The Holy Bible, New International Version . Let us then look to his example.
The God of Relationships The Bible is all about relationships. The greatest theologians of church history have agreed on this. Obviously, the first example would be Jesus. When he was asked to sum up the God-centered life, he said that it was quite simple. Love God; love others cf.
Later, Augustine, the great theologian of the early church, observed that everything written in Scripture is meant to teach us how to love either God or our neighbor.
Of course, this is all an old, old story. Unfortunately, in our day, this familiar story has lost some of its power and punch; some of the mystery and wonder have worn off. And yet it is the single most magnificent story in all the world. There is nothing like it. God in his mercy and wisdom, fully understanding that we cannot save ourselves, initiates our salvation. He freely offers forgiveness to all those who will accept his simple invitation.
Pardon and reconciliation are ours for the taking. He wants this relationship, in turn, to be made visible in our relationships with others.
God knows that not only are we unable to save ourselves, but we are also incapable of truly loving others. So, God goes beyond merely offering us salvation; when we accept his invitation, he miraculously infuses us with the ability to love others properly.
God demonstrated his love for humanity in very tangible ways throughout the history of Israel, but he did so most fully and clearly in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. This love is expressed not only in words, but also in actions. John says, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
To show his love, he gives. A genuine love will always be a generous love. It is this agape love that he enables and calls us to extend toward others. In other words, whatever begins with a love of God will inevitably end with a practical demonstration of our love of our neighbor. There is a reciprocal relationship between loving God and loving people. This is how we know that we love the children of God: And what are his commandments? Remember how Jesus answered that question: Love God; love others.
The 10 Commandments in turn can be easily divided between those which deal with our relationship to God and those which deal with our relationship to others. Thus, Jesus takes all of the commentaries and distills them into two overarching principles: In the final analysis, the one who loves is the one who fulfills the law.
God is love, and he invites us to become lovers as well — not in words only but in practical, tangible ways. In fact, the importance of proper relationships is so central that in Scripture righteousness is not merely a legal status; it is, rather, a relational concept, since it refers to good, just and loving associations with God and others.
There is a line from the musical Les Miserables that sounds like what John is getting at: Are you pursuing any aspirations, ambitions or accomplishments that threaten the quality of the relationships in your life?
At the end of their lives, the things that people generally regret have far more to do with unfinished relational business than with uncompleted tasks.
What must you do now to look back at the end of your journey with no regrets? There is an enormous difference between loving things and using people and loving people and using things. So Elijah went down from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them.
He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant. When Elijah approached the younger man Elisha and threw his cloak around this young man, they both knew that their lives would never again be the same. Elijah had become a mentor and Elisha his disciple.
David Roper highlights the weight of this encounter: In an odd mix of metaphors, he burned his bridges and ate them! Like Elijah, Elisha was obedient to God, eager to follow in the footsteps of his mentor. Elisha ministered during the reigns of five different kings of Israel, and Scripture records 20 different miracles Elisha performed, including one that he performed after he was dead and buried see 2 Kings Like Elisha, they had to drop everything and be willing to follow Jesus wherever he went.
But they soon discovered that by loving Jesus more than others, they gained not only a greater ability to perform mighty works but also a greater capacity to love others. Money and achievements will disappear in the end, but relationships will endure forever. The one who wins in life is not the one who has the most toys, but the one who has the best relationships.
Two is Always Better than One April 26, started out like a normal Saturday for Aron Ralston, a year-old avid outdoorsman and mountain climber. Aron planned on spending the day riding his mountain bike and climbing rocks just outside the Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. As was his usual custom, Ralston planned to climb alone. Let's consider another case.
Say Barbara loves Adam, but Adam doesn't return the favor. Barbara manipulates Adam into a relationship. They get married, but Adam never has the feelings for Barbara that she has for him.
This relationship is not one based on love, but rather control and manipulation. True love must be reciprocated. For Adam and Barbara's love to be genuine, Adam must express his love to Barbara. Barbara must receive his love. Therefore, Barbara will express her love to Adam and her love will also be openly received. This hypothetical relationship notes how that true love requires a lover one sending the lovea beloved one receiving loveand a mutual spirit of love between the two.
Since genuine love is seen in God's eternal triune relationship and that true love is reciprocated between two consenting individuals, then it only makes sense that God instill his love upon us not by force, but by reciprocation. That is to say, God freely offers his love to individuals. He doesn't force his love on an individual.
Remember, forced love is not genuine love! God says through his prophet Ezekiel, "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Instead, don't I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives? Jesus says that "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" Jn.
In this case, God is the lover and human beings are the beloved. But, the love must be reciprocated. Can individuals seek God on their own? God's grace must be extended to them first.
This is a letter to mature Christians with an active faith.Biblical Dating Advice: What Does the Bible Say About Dating? (5 Important Bible Verses)
He is to model his conduct on Christ himself, for he plays the part of Christ in the drama that is marriage. He is given one simple command: Do you see that the husband, being responsible, is responsible for being sure that his wife does not grow bitter? Hear some words from an old, old preacher: Do you want your wife to be obedient to you, as the Church is to Christ? Then be responsible for the same providential care for her, as Christ is for the Church. And even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her, yes, and even to endure and undergo suffering of any kind, do not refuse.
Even though you undergo all this, you will never have done anything equal to what Christ has done. You are sacrificing yourself for someone to whom you are already joined, but He offered Himself up for one who turned her back on Him and hated Him. In the same way, then, as He honored her by putting at His feet one who turned her back on Him, who hated, rejected and disdained Him, as he accomplished this not with threats, or violence, or terror, or anything else like that, but through his untiring love; so also you should behave toward your wife.
True Love Must Be Reciprocal
Even if you see her belittling you, or despising and mocking you, still you will be able to subject her to yourself, through affection, kindness and your great regard for her. There is no influence more powerful than the bond of love, especially for husband and wife. A servant can be taught submission through fear; but even he, if provoked too much, will soon seek his escape.
But one's partner for life, the mother of one's children, the source of one's every joy, should never be fettered with fear and threats, but with love and patience. What kind of marriage can there be when the wife is afraid of her husband? What sort of satisfaction could a husband himself have, if he lives with his wife as if she were a slave, and not a woman by her own free will? Suffer anything for her sake, but never disgrace her, for Christ never did this with the Church.
He intended marriage to be a life long relationship, broken only by death. A relationship between two equals will eventually split; someone has to be the senior partner if the relationship is to endure. God has made man the senior partner since the time of Adam. He intended that marriage would help keep sin in check. Not only the lust and adultery, but also pride.
Husband, how can you strut over one you love? Wife, how can you exalt yourself when you are in submission? He intended it to be a permanent relationship, modeled on the eternal relationship between Christ and the church.