Last week, we set out an attempted understanding of “Virtues”.
“Virtues find their origin in God the Father, their expression in the person of Christ and their enabling by the Spirit.”
Trying to simplify this even further, I would suggest that virtues are our understandings of the very nature of God. So, the values that we try to incorporate into our lives, and which we desire to see in our young people, should reflect God’s nature.
When we put together the truths that “God is love” and that we are made in the image of God, we can conclude that Love is part of our created DNA. Although DNA has been corrupted and obscured by sin, God’s image is still there. So, people yearn to love and to be loved because that is the way God has created us; to image His character. In a sin-tainted world and with a sin-degraded identity the object and manner of our love is often skewed.
Let us consider this essential virtue of Love and how it points to some values that we would consider important.
|LOVE||“God is love . . . This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10||Wholesome Relationships marked by sincerity, security and sacrifice|
All of us would agree that God is love. (origin in God the Father).
We would further agree that the obedient actions of Jesus were an outworking of that love. (expressed in the person of Christ).
Then we would agree that we know these truths by the revelation of the Word by the Spirit (enabled by the Spirit).
Every person of the Trinity is love. An understanding of this truth will result in us reflecting the Love of God into all of our relationships.
Our relationships will be marked by sincerity (total transparency, truth and honesty, no deceit).
They will be relationships of security and commitment – because we understand that the love of God is covenantal. It is His initiative despite our unworthiness.
Our relationships will involve sacrifice – reflecting the nature of God’s love through Christ.
Do we wait for each person’s full understanding of the love of God before we encourage these values? No. As we develop communities with these values, we will be constantly trying to help young people to see why they are essential expressions of Christian community.
|Love of God||Wholesome relationships marked by sincerity, security and sacrifice.|
If that seemed a bit complex, don’t worry, we’ll expand a little more next time.