Counseling One Another

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Counseling One Another

Encountering Obstacles to Loving God

I began my day this morning in my men’s Bible reading group. Four Christian brothers and I reflected on the apostle John’s teaching on the love of God for us and the work of His love in us (1 John 3:13-24). If we have the experiential knowledge of the love of God in Christ, John says, then we will love in return. We will love the brethren in practical acts of kindness and we will love God in the practice of obedience.

I ended my day this evening reading a chapter of A Puritan Theology. Two Christian brothers drew my attention to John Owen’s thoughts on communing with the Trinity. I was struck by the providential timing. In the portion about the believer’s communion with the Father “in His love,” Joel Beeke and Mark Jones mention Owen’s thoughts on three focal points that we as believers need to direct our eyes toward when we encounters obstacles to loving God.

In receiving the Father’s love through Christ, the believer returns the Father’s love in his heart to the heart of the Father, from whom it originated. This returned loves consists of rest, delight, reverence, and obedience. When the Christian encounters obstacles in loving God, he must contemplate the nature of the Father’s love, Owen said. First, the believer must remember not to invert God’s order of love, thinking that the believer’s love comes first. Second, he should meditate on the eternal quality and unchangeableness of the Father’s love. Third, he should remember that on the cross of Christ is the sign and seal of God’s love, assuring him that the Father’s antecedent love wins his consequent love through the Mediator. He who returns to the Father with such meditations will find assurance of the Father’s love. As Owen wrote: ‘Never any one from the foundation of the world, who believed such love in Father, and made returns of love to him again, was deceived…If thou believest  and receivest the Father as love, he will infallibly be so to thee.’

Whether it’s morning on your side of the earth or you are retiring for the night, take time to reflect on the immeasurable love of God for sinners and His unchanging love for His children. Remember Christ. Remember the cross. Remember the love of God.

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