Love: A Solid Foundation
In the life of every Christian, one can see love as a solid foundation. From one’s relationship to God has his heavenly Father to his relationship with his parents, one can see the great presence of love. Please allow me a few minutes to use my life as an example of this solid foundation.
On December 25, 1966, I was born into a loving family. My parents loved me dearly. My parents saw me as a “heritage from the Lord.” (Psalms 127:3) Together, my parents sought to bring me up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) My wonderful parents understood the importance of training me in the way of the Lord with the hope that I would, one day, faithfully serve the Lord. (Proverbs 22:6) My parents raised me in a righteous manner because they loved me dearly. My parent’s love for me was so great, they were willing to discipline me to help me learn the correct way to live. (Proverbs 13:24)
My parent’s love for me led them to teach me the way of the Lord, to bring me up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) From a very early age, I can remember going to worship services and Bible classes every Sunday and every Wednesday. My parents were very strict in not allowing me to miss services for school activities. My parents also believed in the benefit of Bible classes. My parents made sure that I completed my lessons before class time. (If I failed to do my Bible lesson, then I had to face the punishment.) I also remember my parents hosting “cottage classes.” “Cottage classes” were home Bible studies. Members of the church would come to our house, and together, we would study God’s word. When our family went on vacation, my parents would find local congregations for us to attend. Truly my parents desired that I follow in the way of the Lord.
As I grew up in this loving family, I observed a relationship built upon love between my parents. The Bible commands the husband to love his wife and the wife to love her husband. For the husband, the apostle Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) For the wife, the apostle Paul also wrote, “(T)hat they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.” (Titus 2:4) When children are exposed to such a strong example and influence of love, they have a pattern and an example to follow in their future marriages.
Around the age of six years old, my family began worshiping with the Jonesboro church of Christ in Jonesboro, Georgia. It was from this congregation that I learned lessons about brotherly love. The various preachers would preach the lessons and the members would live the lessons. I saw brethren who cared for one another, brethren who would rebuke those in sin, brethren who would show hospitality to those in need, along with many other examples of brotherly love. Jesus, while on this earth, taught, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) Approximately sixty-seven years later, John, who recorded the words of Jesus, wrote through inspiration, “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.” (2 John 1:5) Every child needs to be in the company of brethren who truly love one another as God commanded.
While I have been exposed to great examples of love, the final area of love is completely my responsibility. This area of love is my love for God. Truly the greatest love that must exist within a person’s life is one’s love for God. Jesus Christ said, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:29-30, ESV) A person’s love for God will keep that person focused upon a life of serving God. One’s role as a spouse will be greatly enhanced by a love for God. One’s role as a parent will be strengthened by his love for God. One’s role as a member of a local church will be stronger when he loves God. When we love God with all of our being, every area of service within our lives will be genuine and sincere. To the church in Philippi, the apostle Paul wrote, “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,” (Philippians 1:10) To the church in Rome, Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) While we do not see the term love in Romans 12:1, we do see a complete submission of one’s life unto God. This submission can only come through genuine love for the heavenly Father.
Take a careful look into your life. Do you possess the foundation of love in all areas of your life? How great is the love for your spouse, for your children, and for your brethren? How great is your love for God? Make certain that your foundation is the love as taught by God’s example and by God’s holy word.