My dad was not very good at saying “I love you.” Yet my brother, my sister, and I never doubted that dad loved us with all his heart. Dad grew up in a generation that had a hard time verbalizing the word “love.” I am better at it than my dad was, especially with my beloved wife, our children, grandchildren, and my closest friends.
But I am not very good at saying that with each and every one of your, my friends, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, strategic partners, and fellow workers in the gospel. I do love you all deeply, and I thank God for you always!
Today I desire to look at the Scriptures regarding how we can love others, and, most importantly, love Jesus more in the days ahead.
I love the Book of Philippians! In the opening lines, Paul writes that he loved his family of faith in the Philippian Church. He says he had them “in his heart” and longed for them “with all the affection of Christ”:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 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.” - Philippians 1:3-11
With Paul’s words in mind, let us aim to love one another well in our actions and deeds.
As Paul’s letter the Philippians continues, he expresses his even greater passion—even greater than his love for the Philippians:
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:10-14
We learn from the penmanship of Paul that knowing Jesus is the greatest prize! He teaches us that knowing Jesus is why God took hold of you and me! He teaches us that knowing Jesus better is what lies ahead of us! And lastly, he teaches us that knowing Jesus is our highest calling!
A.W. Tozer comments on this high and holy aim of knowing God in his classic book The Pursuit of God:
“When the Lord divided Canaan among the tribes of Israel, Levi received no share of the land. God said to him simply, ‘I am thy part and thine inheritance,’ and by those words made him richer than all his brethren, richer than all the kings and rajas who have ever lived in the world. And there is a spiritual principle here, a principle still valid for every priest of the Most High God. The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things, he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.”
May the Lord grant us all our highest aim and greatest accomplishment to seek to know the Lord better every single day. That will be His chief delight and our greatest good. That is my aim and my prayer for you!
Kurt serves as East-West's President and CEO, providing leadership and oversight to all worldwide ministry endeavors in the nearly 50 countries in which East-West currently operates. Kurt and his wife, Pat, live in Dallas, Texas and have nine children and seven grandchildren.