He Loves Me Like That?

So many great comments on this week’s passage!  Thank you for what you’ve shared so far.  You would think studying the same 11 verses all week would get boring, but instead it gets deeper and richer.

Like Natalie (and Candy last week) I was captivated by Paul’s affection for these believers.  He doesn’t just love them dutifully, because that is what we are supposed to do as Christians, he loves them extravagantly, piling on words like I hold you in my heart and I yearn for you all. He loves all of them, using the word all 7 times.  His love is is not just feelings either, it is manifested in action.  He remembers them–always a sign of love.  Remembering them floods him with gratitude.  Gratitude reminds him to pray for them.  And prayer for them overflows into joy.  Where does Paul get this kind of love, especially in prison?

The affection of Christ Jesus was my clue.  I know that Jesus loves me, but does he love me with the warmth and eagerness that Paul expresses here?  Curiosity drove me to do a word study.  Affection is not agape, it is splangchna meaning “gut wrenching love.” This is no sterile, official love.  This is love that affects your stomach!  In fact this was the word Paul used in Philemon to describe how he felt about sending Onesimus back to his master,  “I am sending you my very heart…” But best of all, every use of this word as a verb is found in the gospels–to describe something Jesus said or did.

When Jesus saw the funeral procession of the poor widow who had just lost her only son, he was moved with compassion. His “gut love” caused him to stop, look her in the eye, dry her tears, touch the casket, and raise her son from death! Affection also drove him to feed, teach, heal, and drive out demons.  He presented the beauty of this love in 3 parables, the parable of the unforgiving servant, the good Samaritan, and the tale of the prodigal.  This love is an expression of the heart of God…for us.  He loves you, and me, like that.

But even better, he is transforming us to be like him–completing the good work he has begun in us–by helping us to love others like that.  So the next time your heart squeezes in anguish over the pain of your children, the weariness of your husband, or the homeless woman at the traffic light, thank God for his “gut love” and ask him to show you what to do next.  He will, because he is eager for your compassion– and your charity– to abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.” Glorious.

4 comments on “He Loves Me Like That?

  1. Courtney says:

    Really contemplating who Jesus is opens my eyes to how truly messed up I am. My eyes are opened to my discontentment, pride and selfishness.

    I’m so thankful that God has drawn me to himself so often that when I come to this place of realization, I realize even more how much I need to be with Jesus.

    I know who I am and how I act when I come from a time deep connection with my God, that is the person I want to be. That is the person who is moved to compassion. That is the person who pleases her Lord and leads by example, by love.

    • rondi says:

      He is making you to be like him, Courtney…contemplating him is the path to that…beholding his glory and being changed from glory to glory. He is at work in you!

  2. Amanda Peet says:

    Rondi- God really opened my eyes to the same part of the passage also. The affection of Christ Jesus. Lately as I am struggling through things I have felt Gods love but not in this affectionate way. Its hard to put into words how I have been feeling it but I haven’t felt the richness of the affection that Paul describes. Jesus’ affection like you said is “gut wrenching love”. He too like Paul yearns to be with us, He yearns to show us his affection and like Paul yearn to be with us in closeness/nearness. This has changed my perspective on how I look to God in my trials. I don’t want him to just help me “get through them” but I want to feel his affection, his gut wrenching love for me as I go through them. As I was reading I was also reminded of how Jesus is interceding for us and thought of the passage in Roman 8. Again God showed me His love in verses 38 and 39. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, not angels nor rulers, nor thing present nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How sweet is God that his comfort is affectionate.

    • rondi says:

      I am moved to tears to hear how Jesus has comforted you with his love.