Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love's Transforming Power

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Image by Archie McPhee Seattle via Flickr

Does it matter what we love?

There are two ways that I can think of to address that question.  One is, "Do the objects of our love matter?"  And the other is, "Do the consequences of our love matter?"  Today I'd like to look at the second question, because I believe we are destined to become like what we love.

We live in a hedonistic culture which loves its entertainment, even the most depraved varieties.  And many, even within the church, will scoffingly ask, "What does it matter?  What's the harm in it?"

Does it matter what we love…what we focus on, what we commit our time and energies to, what we're devoted to?

Devotion…now there's an interesting word. Webster's Online Dictionary defines it as:

1 a : religious fervor : piety b : an act of prayer or private worship —usually used in plural c : a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation
2 a : the act of devoting <devotion of time and energy> b : the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal

Wow...love, devotion, and worship are very closely related, aren't they?

Does it matter what we love?

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deut 6:5-9

Those who love the Lord as commanded…aren't they really the only ones who are likely to teach His word diligently, to walk a life of integrity before their children, to pass on His legacy to the generations to come?

One of the things that love does is beholding…gazing at the object of its affection.  What effect does this have on us?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Co 3:18 

We are transformed according to our love.  There is no neutrality.  Should we really be surprised by that fact, when love, devotion, and worship are so closely tied together? 

So what happens to those who give their devotion to the idols of this world…gold, silver, the latest gadgets, the trendiest amusements?

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.   They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.

Psa 115:4-8

We find a similar "transformation" mentioned here:

Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after  worthlessness, and became worthless?

Jer 2:5

Our idols, whatever they may be, are spiritually dead and worthless.  Do we really want to become like them?

Perhaps nowhere in Scripture is the dangerous aspect of love's transforming power spelled out more clearly than here:

They…became detestable like the thing they loved. Hos 9:10b

It would seem that we have serious choices to make.  Do we want to behold Him and be transformed from one degree of glory to another, or do we want to fix our hearts on sin and become detestable ourselves?  What affections will we encourage, feed, and finance in ourselves and our children?

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:2-3

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1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Good thoughts, Betsy! Thanks for sharing them with us.

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