Monday, October 24, 2005

What do God's people love?

It's strange how many Bible studies, theme studies, and word studies I've done, but never before have I searched the Scriptures to track down the answer to this question: what are God's children taught to love? For one, the short answer is very familiar: love of God and neighbor. For another, suspicions of sentimentalism generally put a damper on an inquiry like this. And again we often approach "love" with the heart but not the mind, soul, or strength, leaving a sentimentalism that does not deserve enthusiasm and lacks enough depth for studying. But since "what we love" motivates our steps, guides our reason, steers our morality, and adds joy to our lives, it's worth the risk of a topic that some would view with suspicion.

The main two loves taught in the Scriptures, of course, are love of God and neighbor, which top the list. The others became clear as patterns while doing word studies on "love" and "delight" in the Scripture:
  • Love of God;

  • Love of neighbor;

  • Love of immigrants and foreign nationals;

  • Love of God's salvation;

  • Love of God's justice;

  • Love of God's law and his commandments;

  • Love of wisdom, instruction, and knowledge;

  • Love of truth and of the truthful witness;

  • Love of purity of heart;

  • Love of peace;

  • Love of mercy;

  • Love of wife, husband, brothers, children;

  • Love of fellow-believers;

  • Love of approaching God;

  • Love of Christ's appearing.

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