【Day 3】We Love Because God First Loved Us
We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). The innate love of parents for their children is a picture of God’s love for man. But parents with the life of God have not only the desire to love, but also the ability to love, because the life of God in us is the life of love (1 John 4:8, 16). Christian parents need to exercise themselves to contact God, to be filled with God’s love, to be filled with God’s joy, and to practice loving children with human love mingled with divine love (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
First, we often have the desire to love, but lack the ability to love. We often feel that “for to will is present with me, but to work out the good is not.” (Rom. 7:18); therefore, we need the divine love as our ability to love. Second, the natural love of parents is often partial and we need divine love to love different kinds of children. When the divine love is mingled with human love, we will have the same love (Phil. 2:2) for different kinds of children. We will love the smart and beautiful ones, but also the less smart and less beautiful ones, because God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45). Third, if the divine love comes in, we won’t spoil our child, since fallen human love has the element of spoiling. Fourth, if divine love comes in, we won’t love our child according to the flesh nor natural emotions.
Parents’ human love mingled with divine love is a spiritual and wise love, which is for the children’s growth of life and perfection. The love in humanity mingled with divinity is to mingle God into our being, which needs the parents to fellowship with the Lord more, and to be filled with His Spirit and His love. When we love our children with this kind of love because it is a spiritual and wise love, it will bring in the growth and perfection of the children’s spiritual life, and we won’t be afraid that our children will suffer or suffer loss. On the contrary, we are willing to let our children suffer hardships and losses so that they can grow up in life unto maturity.
We must shepherd the souls of our children and enlighten their spirits as a shepherd and overseer of their souls, in order to lead them to the chief Shepherd; He is the Shepherd and Overseer of all our souls (1 Pet. 2:25, 5:4; Heb. 13:20). We must shepherd them to our great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus; He is the real Shepherd and Overseer of the children’s soul. We must realize that our love for children has many flaws, defects, and deficiencies; therefore, if we truly love our children, we must lead the children to the Lord Jesus and let the Lord Jesus be the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls.
We must lead children to fear God, so that they should act not only according to the laws and rules, but also according to their conscience, and even more according to their considerations towards God (1 Pet. 2:19-20). If a child has God in his heart and fears God, he will follow his feelings towards God (because he loves God so he is afraid of offending God) and won’t become bad; if he does not have God in his eyes and is not afraid of God, he can do anything. Therefore, we need to guide our children to fear God and take care of God’s feelings. We also need to guide our children to take care of others’ feelings and know how to conduct themselves in God’s house (1 Tim. 3:15). Children should not only have considerations towards God since their youth, but also for others. In this way, they won’t focus on themselves to take themselves as the center and to do everything for themselves.
We need to guide our children to give up their rights or suffer losses in experiencing God’s sacrificing love to care for and shepherd others (Rom. 5:7-8). In today’s degraded age, men are too selfish to let themselves suffer even a little loss. Of course, we are also afraid that our children will suffer a loss, but if we have God’s love to shepherd them, we won’t be afraid of the children’s little loss. We would rather let our children suffer loss. It is not a big matter to suffer a loss because this will allow our children to experience God’s sacrificing love.
We have not only love, but also discipline towards our children; this is also God’s law for us, with both love and discipline. God’s love is in accordance with His righteous law; in His righteous law, He is full of His love. Therefore, we must love and discipline our children; in this way, our children can be perfected to be a proper vessel useful to the Master.