Links Daily Devotional

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In Deep Love

…love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22, NIV)

I am always a bit surprised when hear a Christian teacher talk of that greatest of Christian characteristics, love, as though it should be expressed with nine parts Jason Dufner and one part Keegan Bradley. Make it steady and staid and barely emotional.

“Don’t confuse emotions with true love,” they say. And all I can think is ? (really—it’s not so much a huh? or a what? but just a ?).

It would strike us all as completely odd if Peter had written, “Love one another deeply, from your brain.” While healthy, lasting love involves any number of clear-headed decisions and determined actions, we do not approach love as a cognitive activity. We feel it, and then we act on it.

In Scripture, King David wept furiously over his dying infant son. This was not a son he knew. The king had not watched this one grow up, listened to his voice, witnessed the unfolding of his personality. He simple felt love. And because his son was failing, he wept openly for him. He likewise mourned bitterly at the loss of Absalom. His brain knew all that this grown son had done to disparage his father and seize his throne. Yet David’s heart poured out love.

Peter was not departing from what he knew of the psalmist, nor what he knew of the Lord Jesus. Jesus had demonstrated love emotively and actively.

Now Peter was calling his readers to similar expressions of love. In 1 Peter 1:22, he wrote of a love that is “sincere,” “deep,” and “from the heart.” Sincerity captures a sense of truth—love not for personal rewards but to provide riches to another. Depth suggests great risk—will you allow yourself to be immersed in this behavior? And to rely on one’s heart is to carve from our vulnerabilities a gift that cares for others. You simple cannot love this way without feeling it.

Can we really love like this? Not on our own impetus. Peter was clear about that, too. He remarked that the deep love we have to give comes out of the purifying work of obedience to Christ after we have been born again in him. We truly do love only because he first loved us (1 John 4:11,19).

Jeff Hopper

May 24, 2013

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