Love Securely

Jesus is journeying toward the Cross. On Thursday, it’s His last opportunity to impart His most important thoughts to His disciples. He is about to be arrested, and everything is about to go sideways for the disciples—“this isn’t the way this is supposed to happen!”—and Jesus needs to prepare them with the truth they will need to sustain them through this. 

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” Jesus says (Luke 22:15).  

So Peter and John are sent to make arrangements for the Passover meal, but one of the arrangements that they overlooked was the host duties—washing the feet of each guest, anointing them with perfume, and giving them a welcoming kiss. 

As they are eating dinner, Jesus makes four important statements:

  1. “One of you will betray Me”
  2. “All of you will abandon Me”
  3. “I will rise again and restore you”
  4. “I have prayed for you”

These statements get the disciples arguing about who’s going to betray Jesus—“It’s not me, is it?!”—and over how faithful they are—“I would never abandon Him!” Ultimately they begin to argue over who is the greatest disciple among them. 

Jesus not only explains to them how the servant is greater than the master in God’s sight (Luke 22:24-27), but He then becomes the living example of that when He washes their feet (John 13:1-5, 12-17). 

Here’s an important principle—Only secure people can lovingly serve others. 

Insecure people don’t like to serve others because they feel they are being misused, or taken advantage of, or that others will look down on them. 

Jesus “knew” (John 13:1, 3) how much power His Father had given Him, making Him secure enough to serve. Security really means, “I am loved by God, and I know who I am in Him.”

Jesus served out of love: the profound love that He knew His Father had for Him. He gave His disciples the same mandate: Serve others out of love for Me and show the world that you are My disciples (see John 13:34-35).

When Jesus ate this last supper with His disciples, He instituted a remembrance celebration that we now call Communion. The root word is “commune” which the dictionary defines as a “conversation with profound intensity and intimacy.” 

This is the type of intimate relationship Jesus had with His Father, and this is the type of relationship He calls us to with Him. The broken bread of Communion reminds us that Jesus can make whole any broken area that would keep us from communing with Him. The cup of Communion reminds us that Jesus can instantly and fully forgive any sin that would keep us from communing with Him. 

Jesus set the example—we are to commune with our Heavenly Father through the way He made by His broken body and His shed blood. It’s out of this communion that we are empowered by His love, and then feel secure enough to serve others in love too. 

True Love Liberates

“Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. … 

“My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. … We reason, If someone loves me, I must have significance. …

“I am significant. Life has meaning. There is a higher purpose. I want to believe it, but I may not feel significant until someone expresses love to me. When my spouse lovingly invests time, energy, and effort in me, I believe that I am significant. Without love, I may spend a lifetime in search of significance, self-worth, and security.

“When I experience love, it influences all of those needs positively. I am now freed to develop my potential. I am more secure in my self-worth and can now turn my efforts outward instead of being obsessed with my own needs. True love always liberates. …

“Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.” —Dr. Gary Chapman

8 Quotes From Josh McDowell On God’s Ideal For Sex

All of these quotes are taken from Josh McDowell’s book 10 Commitments For Dads

“Our desire and need for intimacy and relationship is rooted in the image of God as One (see Deuteronomy 6:4). Marriage and marital sex between a man and woman reflects His nature of oneness and unity.”

“Human sexuality involves every aspect of a person’s being—and sex is meant to connect us on every level.”

“Respecting the boundaries of sexual morality and the ‘stop’ signs for extramarital and premarital sex does bring protection and provision. Protection from: guilt, unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual insecurity, emotional distress. Provision for: spiritual rewards, optimum atmosphere for child-raising, peace of mind, trust, true intimacy.”

“Sex as God designed it was meant to be lived within the context of healthy boundaries…. Following God’s design then allows a couple to experience the beauty of sex as it was meant to be experienced.”

“Purity is God’s boundary that provides for a maximum sex life and protects us from the negative consequences of sexual immorality [1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7].”

“Where did sexual purity come from? From the very character of God Himself. God says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). ‘All who have this I hope [of being like Christ when He returns] in Him purify themselves, just as [God] is pure’ (1 John 3:3).”

“We were created by God with the desire and longing to be that ‘one and only’ to someone else. That desire came directly from the very nature of God Himself … ‘He is the faithful God…’ (Deuteronomy 7:9).”

“Because true love’s priority is to protect and provide for the one being loved, God’s kind of love will not do things that are harmful to the security, happiness, and welfare of another person.”

You can check out my review of 10 Commitments For Dads here. I also shared some other quotes from this helpful book here.

Poetry Saturday—Hymn XXXV

In Thy presence we are happy,
In Thy presence we’re secure;
In Thy presence all afflictions
We can easily endure;
In Thy presence we can conquer,
We can suffer, we can die;
Wandering from Thee, we are feeble;
Let Thy love, Lord, keep us nigh. —Williams Pantycelyn

Links & Quotes

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“With such prayer [‘Praying in the Holy Sprit’ (Jude 20)] it is an absolute certainty that I must succeed with God in prayer. If my prayer were my own prayer, I might not be so sure of it, but if the prayer which I utter be God’s own prayer written on my soul, God is always one with Himself, and what He writes on the heart is only written there because it is written in His purposes.” —Charles Spurgeon

“In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work [Acts 20:34-35], it gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in need.’ Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality.” —C.S. Lewis

“Security comes as we put God’s precepts into practice. We’re only as strong as our obedience.” —Max Lucado

Dan Reiland shares 6 things God says to church leaders.

“Mountain lions detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest—the young, the sick, the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever he finds. The enemy of your hope and happiness hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting. satan prowls like a roaring lion.” Read how to overcome the prowlings of the devil.

For anyone struggling with pornography, here is a great source of help: MyPilgrimage.com. Watch the introductory video, and then subscribe!

Here is some good advice for students who are addicted to pornography—

Graceful Gratitude

Graceful GratitudeAs we approach Thanksgiving Day, it’s natural for people to think about thanking. This shouldn’t be the case for Christians though…

Christians should be so full of thanks that every day is a day of thanks-giving!

There is a power in thankfulness. There is something attractive about gracious people. There is a security and a peace that comes from knowing just how many blessings have been lavished on me by my Heavenly Father.

Beginning this Sunday, I am going to share a series of three messages from three verses in the book of Colossians. We are going to look at the power of being people of graceful gratitude.

If you don’t have a church home in Cedar Springs, I would be so honored if you would join us. If you cannot make it in person, check out our live broadcast on Periscope at 10:30am (search for user @craigtowens).

Links & Quotes

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“I try to live in such a way that if God sought one person on earth for a special assignment, He would select me.” —Jonathan Edwards

“If God has work for me to do, I cannot die.” —Henry Martyn

“There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them. It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry ‘masculine’ when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them to describe a man’s sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as ‘feminine.’ But also what poor, warped fragments of humanity most mere men and mere women must be to make the implications of that arrogance plausible. Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become fully human. ‘In the image of God created He them.’ Thus, by a paradox, this carnival of sexuality leads us out beyond our sexes.” —C.S. Lewis

Pornography is NOT just something private. Porn affects everyone around you: My husband has chosen porn over me for 16 years.

Not only is pornography destructive to your personal relationships, but porn fuels the human sex trafficking industry. “Ultimately, the problem isn’t human trafficking—the problem is brokenness. As finite and flawed humans, we’re broken in just about every way. And it’s because of the brokenness in ourselves and our communities that exploitation can thrive.” Read more about the deeper problems behind human trafficking.

Ever been here: I Forgave, But It Doesn’t Feel Like It? Check out what this psychologist says about the healing that can come through forgiveness.

Keep an eye for these 7 subtle symptoms of pride.

 

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