More will be added after tomorrow's class.
According to Bloomberg, the middle of February is "Fall off the Wagon" Day. This is the day when there is an uptick in fast food visits and a drop in weekly visits to the gym. All too often, this same "Fall off the Wagon" trend occurs in the spiritual disciplines. You start strong and committed but after a period of time, old habits, the busyness of life, and spiritual lethargy creep in. There is a drop in Bible reading and an uptick in media consumption.
10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Don Whitney contains some great questions to ask yourself throughout the year. They will help you examine your spiritual life.
The question for the first Spiritual Health class of 2024 is "Are you more loving?" For the other questions, go to tinyurl.com/tbctenquestions
There are at least two reasons why this is a great question to ask yourself.
The first reason is because love is a main characteristic of a Christian and a command in God's Word.
- John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
- John 15:17 This I command you, that you love one another.
- Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor,
- 1 Corinthians 16:14 All that you do must be done in love.
- 1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
“A Christian may advance in many areas, including the ability to witness, teach, or even preach, or biblical insight and knowledge, or faith, giving, and sacrifice, but these mean little without growth in the most important Christian distinctive—love (see 1 Corinthians 13:1—3)”
The second reason is because of the present culture. When "love is love" is used as a slogan to promote sexual immorality, it is important to know what true, Biblical love is and how we should live in this world.
The chapter begins to offer an explanation of what love is using two questions.
What kind of love?
God-glorifying, supernatural love.
More than natural affections. That is love shown in normal circumstances such as a parents' love for their children or love for a good friend.
Not "Does it please me first?" love. "Any benefits it brings to others are a secondary to the question "Does it please me?"
Not "I'll love you if you'll love me" love. "The test of Christlikeness is not the greatness of your love toward those who love you,, but the bounty of your love toward those who do not."
What are some areas (not all) where love shows itself?
Love for other Christians. This love strengthens believers. Read Galatians 6:10.
Love for the lost. Read Mark 10:21 and Luke 6:27, 32.
Love for your family. Read Ephesians 5:25
The chapter concludes with suggestions for maturing in the most Christlike of graces - love:
- Meditate on love as the most important distinguishing mark
- Let your heart be often warmed by the fire of God’s love
- Discover assurance that God is your Father by loving as He loves
- Delight in Imitating God
- Identify those relationships where you most need to grow in love
- Take the initiative in showing love, especially when you have little or no expectation of love in return.