Loving Others Means Pointing Them to God
I have heard it said by John Piper on numerous occasions that love for another person entails, in an overflow of joy in God, that we seek to gladly make others glad in God. This is why it is so crucial to feed ourselves with the very words of God and to see that in Him there is fullness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). Love can be manifested in a number of ways, and we do well to explore the various ways this can be done. However, at root to loving another human being must be this push in a Godward direction. As Christians, we cannot truly say we are loving someone unless we are pointing them ultimately toward the fountain of delights. In the following statement Augustine reminds us in The City of God that such a calling to love is the highest call we possess in relating to other people. May we be a people who truly love others in this sense and point them to the one thing that will truly satisfy their souls, comfort them in affliction, and triumph over every pointless idol.
“It is this Good which we are commanded to love with our whole heart, with our whole mind, and with all our strength. It is toward this Good that we should be led by those who love us, and toward this Good we should lead those whom we love. In this way, we fulfill the commandments on which depend the whole Law and the Prophets: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with thy whole heart, and thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind’; and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ For, in order that a man might learn how to love himself, a standard was set to regulate all his actions on which his happiness depends. For, to love one’s own self is nothing but to wish to be happy, and the standard is union with God. When, therefore, a person who knows how to love himself is bidden to love his neighbor as himself, is he not, in effect, commanded to persuade others, as far as he can, to love God?”
Jeremy Kimble (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University. He is an editor for Credo Magazine as well as the author of That His Spirit May Be Saved: Church Discipline as a Means to Repentance and Perseverance and numerous book reviews. He is married to Rachel and has two children, Hannah and Jonathan.