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TODAY’S Episode

Love Like Jesus

With Josh McDowell, Paul Miller, ...more
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April 20, 2019
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Michelle: It's Easter weekend; and just the other night, we celebrated Good Friday. For some of you, you may feel that there's a series of Good Fridays in your life right now. Listen to what Paul Miller says about that.

Paul: Hang in there; resurrection’s coming! You don't know the timing or the shape of the resurrection; but you can begin to taste the resurrection, even as you begin to surrender to the path that God has put you on; because immediately, a joy begins to well up in your heart. You stop fighting the world that God has put you in.

Michelle: This Easter weekend, we're going to talk about the love that Jesus had. Just how do we love like He did? Stay tuned. We're going to talk about that on this edition of FamilyLife This Week.

Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. You know, it is Easter weekend; and it is a time to celebrate! And you know, when there's a celebration, of course, that means a new outfit. I know lots of women, who are heading out to the stores this season, looking for the perfect Easter dress. And if you have a kid or two, I'm sure you have already thought through the white shorts the little boy's going to wear and the cute, frilly, pink or yellow dress that your daughter's going to wear.

You know, there's something about Easter. There's a freshness, or a newness, or—if we're talking Easter brunch—there's a yummy-ness to it. But this weekend is a weekend of contrasts. We just came out of a somber and dark Good Friday; and then we're supposed to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Sunday. That feels like a sharp turn to me; doesn't it to you?

And it got me to thinking about the love that Jesus poured out for us on the cross, and how do we love? You know, I've been told that He loves extravagantly, but that it's tempered by His judging. I've been told that He's meek and mild—and we’re to be meek and mild—but that He also ran the people out of the temple. How do we reconcile the contrast? How do we reconcile what we hear? Well, as I was told last night, we're to go back to the Bible. Don't rely on hearsay; rely on the truth of God's Word.

You know, there's a man, who has spent a lot of time in God's Word, and he has spent that time studying the love of our Savior. His name is Philip Ryken. He's currently President of Wheaton College; and he and his wife Lisa, of course, live there in Wheaton, Illinois. They have five children and—interesting fact about him—he loves to water ski. I just thought that was interesting, because I want to learn. I can't seem to pull myself up; I'm not strong enough.

In a discussion with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine, Philip Ryken helps us differentiate these loves and especially the love of our Savior.

[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]

Dennis: Well, let's talk about this subject of love here. I want you to start just with your own observations about what the culture is communicating—about what real love is.

Philip: I think the culture thinks that love is primarily emotional—that the most important kind of love is romantic love. That's very different than the picture you get in the Scriptures, where love has an emotional dimension for sure, but a lot of love is the practical living out of putting another person first in life.

And the Bible does talk about romantic love—celebrates it/rejoices in it—but there are other dimensions of love. I think one of the rich things about the biblical teaching on love is you have multiple vocabulary words. You know, in English, we really try to do all the work that love could do with a single word. That's not how it is in Greek and Hebrew—you get a richer, fuller picture of multiple dimensions of love. It's a very different picture that you get in the Bible than in culture.

Dennis: You say in your book that 1 Corinthians 13 is like a portrait of love or a good description of love; but it really is pointing back to the One, [who] was love/who visited this planet.

Philip: Yes; I think so. I mean, if you—1 Corinthians 13 is a very well-known passage of Scripture. Most of us have heard it at a lot of weddings, for example. This book is really just a careful exposition, and explanation/application of the full richness of

1 Corinthians 13.

I don't think, at the beginning of this passage, the Apostle Paul says “Now, let me tell you what the love of Jesus is like.” But when you start going through, “Okay; where have I seen this kind of patient, non-envious, non-boastful, fully kind—I mean, you start going through the list, and what is the best example of this love? Where do we see it fully fleshed out? Of course, the answer to that is in the life of Jesus Christ. I think this passage is a great lens for looking at the life of Christ; and if you want the full portrait of 1 Corinthians 13, you see it lived out in the life, and death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Bob: It's interesting to me, too; because from an apologetics standpoint, that's not the center of the picture for other prophets or deities around the world. We don't think of Allah as the god of love. We don't think of Buddha as being the—love being at the center of the bull's eye. For the Christian, this is the sine qua non; isn't it?

Philip: Yes; I mean, you know, John says that in his epistles; doesn't he? “God is love,”—he makes a direct identification of God as love. And you could equally—the Bible, I don't think, says it in so many words—but Jesus is love. That's certainly the message of the gospel. Of course, there are other attributes of the character of Christ—so love isn’t His only attribute—but if you're looking for the living definition of love, that is in the person and in the work of Jesus Christ.

Dennis: So you and Lisa have been married 25 years.

Philip: Yes.

Dennis: What have you learned—from gazing into the life of Jesus Christ—what have you learned about loving her?

Philip: Yes; well, how long do we have on today's broadcast? [Laughter] You know, one thing we often joke about—this is something that her mother would say, from time to time—is: “The first 25 years are the hardest.” So, next year, will say, “The first 26 years are the hardest.” [Laughter]

I mean, marriage is an amazing crucible for discipleship/for the life of sanctification. I tell young people: “When you are prayerfully making a decision about a life partnership, you are really choosing the person that you will become; because this relationship will have a bigger impact on your sanctification than any other relationship.”

I think—I mean, if you ask me just: “What's the first thing that comes to mind? What have I learned about love from being married to Lisa Maxwell for 25 years?” I have learned how selfish I am—that's the first thing that comes to my mind— because there are all kinds of things that you just cater to your own wants and desires. That doesn't really get fully exposed until you live with somebody in that close proximity. Maybe, she would say, you know, I haven't learned enough about the love of Jesus yet. [Laughter]

But I—you know, you look back over 25 years, and you're able to say, “Praise God, I'm not the man that I was at the beginning of this relationship.” Hopefully, you know, I'll be able—25 years later from now—I’ll be able to say, “You know, at this point, I'm not the man I was 25 years ago.” It's a lifelong process.

Dennis: To that point, you mentioned, earlier, that the Greek language is robust in describing the one English word we have called love. Just real quickly—because I think our listeners could benefit from this—unpack the different Greek words—that we have, in English, one word to describe—that's “love.”

Philip: Yes; I was mentioning earlier, this is part of the richness of the biblical teaching on love. You know, this is something that C. S. Lewis gave a great exposition of in his book, The Four Loves, where he talks about storge, which is a very comfortable, familiar, shoe leather kind of love—that's an analogy that's often given.

Agape, which is a unique New Testament term—which Paul really frequently uses in the epistles—which is a selfless love; it's an active love. You have eros, which, of course, we get our vocabulary of erotic; and it's more in the category of a romantic love. And it has this passion to it that's in a love relationship. And filia, which is brotherly love—like Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

And even that vocabulary shows that there are different relationships in life that have a different quality. I have a different kind of love relationship with a close colleague that I've worked with in ministry than I do with Lisa as my wife, or even, then, the kind of love that I have for my children. There are different loves that God gives us in life according to our various callings in life.

And one thing that I would just emphasize—since we're talking about loving the way that Jesus loves and thinking a little bit about 1 Corinthians 13—I think it's important to recognize 1 Corinthians 13 is about this  agape, selfless love that we’re called to, as the followers of Christ.

One of the huge privileges of a life in ministry, where you have the privilege that I have—which is regularly to spend private time studying God's Word in a deep way, preparing to teach God's Word to others—is really digging into the Scriptures and getting a fuller sense of what is really there.

I think kindness—we think of as something that's, you know, a very small virtue—if it's a virtue at all—but the biblical notion of kindness is really robust; it has a strong sense to it. I really go back to the Old Testament in the vocabulary of lovingkindness, which is actually God's covenant faithful love. The whole love of God for His people is really expressed in terms of kindness. So then, rather than thinking of this as a small thing, it's a huge privilege for us to be showing kindness to others, in the biblical sense of lovingkindness, in imitation of the amazing lovingkindness of God.

[Studio]

Michelle: That's Philip Ryken. Philip is President of Wheaton College. And just as Philip was talking about the lovingkindness of God, it got me thinking about the passage in Galatians—Galatians 5, where it talks about the fruit of the Spirit. You know, that's a great reminder of how we're supposed to imitate God—imitate Him and His lovingkindness.

Okay; so now, we have a framework of love and the kind of love that we are to know; because we are loved by God and we love Him. But how do we go about showing this love to others?—because loving others—well, it's hard work. It would be so easy if we were hermits or something and all we had to do was just love God, but we're not. We're surrounded by people, all day long. So where do we start? How about we start with those in our immediate circle?—our family.

Bob and Dennis chatted with Paul Miller about loving our families when life is hard. Paul is the Executive Director of the ministry, See Jesus®. He's a best-selling author; and one of his books is titled Love Walked among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus Did. To give you a little bit of context, as you listen to Paul talk with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine, you need to know that Paul's daughter, Kimmie, is sitting in the control room, watching this interview happen.

Now, Kimmie has special needs. She has autism, and she also is mute; but Paul brings her along with him on many of his trips because it enriches her life, and it also enriches his; and he loves his daughter! Here's Paul.

[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]

Paul: Down there, in the crucible, is where you get to know God. If you don't give into bitterness—if you receive what the Father has given you in this hard thing, whether it's a difficult spouse, or a disabled child, or a difficult boss—if you receive that as from the Father, then you meet and get to know God in ways that you've never imagined. You begin to pick up the cadences of Jesus. He becomes almost physically tangible to you.

Here's just a quick story, just from on the work side/on the ministry side. I was at a conference, speaking, that had about 500 people in it. We had roving mics. There was one person in the seminar—when I would ask questions—who kept saying a lot of stuff, and it really didn't connect too much with what I was asking about.

And the pastor came up to me at the end of Friday night and said, “Paul, I've talked to that person; and you won't have that problem again.” I thanked him for it, because that was a helpful thing to do; but I said: “It's not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it's a good thing for 499 people to see me being patient with a slightly-troubled person; because I, by my seminar being mildly ruined—I get to display Christ.” It's just an entirely different way of looking at life.

What we tend to do is look for the perfection of the seminar, but what Christ wants to find is the perfection of the image of His Son in me. So then, God becomes present as we begin to see the beauty of Christ emerge in the church.

Bob: How do you think you and Jill would be different people today if God had not put Kimmie in your life?

Paul: I can't even imagine it—she's God's best gift us.

Dennis: In what way? Give me a tangible way you're a different man today because of her.

Bob: Because when you say that, you know, people think, “Well, that's the right Christian answer to say—is that she’s God's gift”; but you say it with sincerity; don't you?

Paul: Oh, yes.

One of the stories I remember was—I was working at the Independence National Park, the national park downtown. A homeless man—he was drunk—came up to me and this other coworker. He barely got his words out, and I just kind of dismissed him. My friend, who I'm not even sure was a believer, listened to the guy/found out what he wanted. Then, afterward, turned to me and said, “Why did you treat him that way?” I mean, I was doing the opposite of Jesus-looking compassion; so that's what I mean by that.

Dennis: Your eyesight is better, you're saying.

Paul: We see much better.

Dennis: You see people for who they are—image bearers—

Paul: Yes; yes.

Bob: You're a little more patient.

Paul: Yes.

Bob: You listen better.

Dennis: —and your assignment to love them in the moment, regardless of the circumstances.

Paul: Yes; yes; yes.

Dennis: I want to read a passage of Scripture, and then I want you to just help conclude our broadcast; because this is what you've been talking about all this week. It's found in 1 Peter, Chapter 4, verse 12: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though”—and this is the part I always smile about—“as though something strange were happening to you.”

Paul: Yes; yes; yes.

Dennis: In other words, we're to expect trials—not be surprised by trials—

Paul: Yes; yes.

Dennis: —because trials come with an assignment; don’t they?

Paul: Yes.

Dennis: It goes on to say, “But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” That's what it's about; isn’t it?

Paul: Yes. You begin to taste down payments of that glory, even in the bottom of the crucible, as people begin to see the beauty of Christ emerge out of you.

Dennis: You're saying you've tasted glory through a daughter, who's 30-plus years old—

Paul: Yes.

Dennis: —in loving her, being patient with her, humbling yourself to care for her—giving, giving, giving, and not quitting.

Paul: That's exactly it.

Dennis: And to that person, who's got an assignment right now—that may not be packaged just like this was packaged for you and Jill—what would you say to him or her, who’s finding circumstances unbearable?

Paul: Hang in there; resurrection’s coming! You don't know the timing or the shape of the resurrection; but you can begin to taste the resurrection, even as you begin to surrender to the path that God has put you on; because immediately, a joy begins to well up in your heart, and you stop fighting the world that God has put you in.

[Studio]

Michelle: Paul Miller reminding us that there is hope; that the resurrection brings hope in our lives. To hear the entire interview, go to FamilyLifeThisWeek.com—that's FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.

Hey, we need to take a break; but you’ll want to stay with us, because we're going to have a discussion with Josh McDowell on the other side. Stay tuned.

[Radio Station Spot Break]

Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. We are celebrating Easter this weekend, and we are celebrating the ultimate sacrifice of love from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We're talking about love, and we could not talk about a love if we didn't talk with Josh McDowell. He is somebody who knows this love of our Savior well. He's passionate about what he does. He is on staff with Cru, and he's written over 115 books. You might have heard of one of them, called More than a Carpenter. Josh is married to Dottie, and they have raised four children. Josh loves Jesus, and he loves to share that love with others.

He was in the FamilyLife® studios, a while back, and talked with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine about teaching his children how to love others well. Here's Josh.

[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]

Josh: I need to raise my children to—not just believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and what God says, and everything—but how do you know it's true? How do you know it's true? If we do not do that, then you really don't have much of a way to counteract intolerance in culture today; because you've lost all objective reality.

When you were growing up—whatever your pastor taught/whatever your parents taught you—when you turned on the TV—to various degrees, the structures around you reinforced it—when you went to school/when you went in the classroom. What your pastor taught and you taught, as a parent, was reinforced. That is no longer true! Right now, this Sunday morning, whatever your pastor teaches/whatever you teach your kids—the moment they turn on TV, they go to their internet, they go to Facebook®, they walk down the street—almost every structure and culture flies in the face.

And this is why I say: “Mom and Dad, you were able to survive with a belief system. Your kids won't, without convictions. If you raise your children the way your parents raised you, you’ll probably lose them.” Why?—because your parents, who did a great job for that culture at that time, raised you with a very good belief system—that won't work anymore.

You must now raise your children with convictions. A conviction is knowing what you believe, why you believe it—now, this is important—and experiencing it in your life. Most people say, “Well, if it's true, it will really work.” You see, today, 78 percent of evangelical Christian young people, when asked the question, “How do you know something's true?”—not “Because Jesus said it in the Bible,”—no!—“…if it works!”

A kid says, “If it really works, it is true.” And here is the problem with that—say a pastor/somebody makes a decision to enter into sexual immorality—pornography or whatever. The average adult in the church would say, “Well, the pastor is not living the truth.” The child will look at that and say, “Not true!” What's not true? “Whatever the pastor teaches.” Why?—“It doesn't work.” This is why hypocrisy today has ten times the impact it used to have; because now, it reflects on truth itself.

Bob: You made an observation—earlier, when we were talking about this—that I think would be good for our listeners to hear. You were saying most people do not move away from the anchor of the biblical faith because they are persuaded, intellectually, away. You said most of them rearrange their intellect because they're persuaded, morally, in a different direction.

Josh: I learned that over—I don’t know how many years—1,216 universities I have lectured in. Almost every time I ever met a professor, a graduate student, or anyone who's adamant against Christianity—just attacks Christians/would ridicule me when I'd come to the campus—I can say, almost 100 percent of the time, when I was able to spend time with that person, they did not have an intellectual question. They had a moral problem.

Dennis: Yes.

Josh: They had a moral problem with it. Now, here's the key: “Well, Josh, what do you do? What do we teach our children?” I refused to ever teach my children to be tolerant, because I believe you diminish the value of a person. I raised my children to be loving. When you love someone, you attribute value to their life in the image of God—value, dignity, worth.

When you tolerate someone, you diminish; because you’re saying: “It doesn't matter what you believe. Everything is true.” When you love someone, you acknowledge who they are, as a person. So I raised my children to be loving; and you know, it's interesting—in Psalm 89:14—this ought to be the clamoring bell—it says, “Unfailing love and truth walk before You as attendants.” I raised my children to be loving and to love truth.

Boy! This is so powerful—teach the truth in love. And the thing is—the love there—teach the truth in love—love doesn't make it true. You could teach truth in hatred, and it’s still true—

Bob: Right.

Josh: —now, nobody will want it! What love does—is fertilize the ground to receive the truth. This's why we have to be so careful of our attitudes with our own children in everything and show compassion for the individual. This is how we must raise our children.

[Studio]

Michelle: I think the world needs just a few more Josh McDowells. It seems like there are just a few men who have such a deep passion to equip the next generation with truth, and teaching them why it's truth, and how to live it out. We have a link to Josh's ministry on our website, along with the full interview that he had with Dennis and Bob. Go to FamilyLifeThisWeek.com—that's FamilyLifeThisWeek.com.

Hey! If you're a working mom—oh, let me clarify that—because I know all moms work! But if you are a working mom, outside the home, do you deal with mom guilt? As my friend, Megan, says, “It's the constant feeling that you're missing something, somewhere; and you just can't seem to find it; because your kids want 100 percent of your time/your job wants 100 percent of your time.” How do you mash those together? Oh, and then, there's the husband, who wants some of your time too. We’re going to talk with my good friend and co-worker, Shannon Simmons, next week. We're going to discuss mom guilt and how to deal with it.

Thanks for listening today. I want to thank the President of FamilyLife, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producers, Marques Holt and Bruce Goff. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.

Our program is a production of FamilyLife Today, and our mission is to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time. I'm Michelle Hill, inviting you to join us again next time for another edition of FamilyLife This Week.

 

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Host Michelle Hill, along with expert guests, provide a weekly dose of engaging and practical encouragement for marriages, families and other valuable relationships on FamilyLife This Week. New episodes every weekend.

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