Saturday, July 07, 2007

Family Driven Faith - Chapter 3 – Learn to Love

In this chapter Voddie deals with the issue of Love and seeking to see what Biblical love is. He shares that originally the title was to be “learn to Love God” but then realized that if we only love God and not others then we really do not love God (1 John 4:20). So the title became “Learn to Love” as throughout scripture we are called to love others and this is part of showing love for God.

We need to be able to love others as well as God in such a way that our family and others have no choice but to notice it. Voddie says:

“Our homes must be rife with the aroma of love. Those who visit us should notice immediately that they have left the world of self-serving, egocentric narcissism and have entered a safe harbor where people value and esteem others above themselves. Outsiders should enter our homes and never want to leave. Our neighbors should find excuses to visit us just to get another whiff of the fragrant aroma of love. The brokenhearted should long to be near us. The downtrodden and the abused should seek us out. Families on the brink of disaster should point to us and say, “Why can’t our home be like that?””

The book then speaks about the Greco-Roman love that not only permeates the world but all too often permeates the believers understanding of love. He speaks about 4 myths that relate to this view of love: 1) Love is a Random Force, 2) Love is an Overwhelming Force, 3) Love is an Uncontrollable Force and 4) Love is a Sensual Force. These myths tend to reveal a love that is uncontrollable and random and thus create an environment that unpredictable. Also, it is shown how this form of love does not translate to relationships other than between couples as it does not say how we are to love our children or neighbors.

To contrast the Greco-Roman view of love Voddie then reveals a “Biblical Portrait of Love” using Deuteronomy 6:-5. this biblical view of love shows that first “Love is an Act of the Will.” Love is not merely an uncontrollable force but is something we think about and consciously do, “Love is a choice.” Love does not separate itself from the mind and will but uses both. The second concept is that “Love is Accompanied by Emotion.” The fact that love is a choice does not negate the emotional aspect of love. It simply says that biblical love is accompanied by emotion but is ot led by emotion. Lastly he shows how “Love Leads to Action on Behalf of its Object.” In both the OT and NT we see God’s word equates actions as demonstrations of love. In Deuteronomy (6:5-6; 7:9; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3-4; 19:9; 30:6, 16, 20) and in John 14:15 & 21 we see a tie between the action of following God’s commands and love for God and this is also seen in John 15:10 as well as in 1 John 2:3-4, 3:22 and 5:3.

This last part is so important and I think it ties in the whole concept of simply learning to love as it says we can not say we love God if our lives are void of true love for others. For us to learn to love God we need to also learn to love our spouses, children, neighbors and others around us.

Voddie finishes this chapter with some advantages of the “Biblical Model of Love.” These are:

The Biblical Model of Love Volitional – Since the Greco-Roman model is an uncontrollable force that the one it is forced upon has no choice in the Biblical model necessities our mind and will.

The Biblical Model of Love is Transferable – unlike the Greco-Roman model of Love which only applies to a sort of romantic love the biblical model can be used in so many ways the give glory to God

The Biblical Model of Love is Secure – Since the other form of love is fleeting and transitory the Biblical model that is rooted in God is secure. It is not, or should not, be driven but anything but God’s command to love.

The Biblical Model of Love Satisfies – the Greco-Roman model is never satisfied but since God designed us for His kind of love for the believer the love God commands is satisfying

One thing I have enjoyed and appreciated from the book is that not only does Voddie relate real stories to flesh out the point he is making he also use instances from his life to give the book a more personal nature.

Next, Chapter 4 – Give Him Your Heart

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