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Surprised by Love: The Transforming Power of Love

February 27, 2012

The most dramatic example of the transforming power of love that I have witnessed in my life occurred in the early morning hours of December 13, 1983, when our first child, Julia, was born.  The transformed person was my husband, Bob, who, during our engagment a few years before, declared that he wanted no “descendants,”  a position he retreated from when he discovered that it was a deal-breaker for me.  The transformation was dramatic because it occurred in a day’s time.  The day before her birth, Bob was a loving, supportive husband, but a somewhat reluctant father-to-be. The day she was born, he fell head over heels in love with her.  He was surprised and in awe of the intense love he felt for this tiny person he had just met.   It was an experience that would be repeated three more times, upon the births of each of our three sons.  The transforming power of love cannot be overstated.

The importance of love in the life of believers is a recurring theme throughout Scripture.  We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love others as ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).  We learn that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).  St. Paul tells us that love is greater than faith or hope (1 Corinthians 13: 13). Dr. Joel R. Beeke explains that “As Christians love God, their hearts rejoice in His faithful love for them, which confirms their faith and keeps their hopes alive.”[1]

The attributes of love are listed in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

The effects of Christian love are always positive–to help others.  In loving and helping other people, we glorify God.  If each of us keeps the attributes of love in mind, we will be transformed into the person God wants us to be, a conduit for the light of Christ, shining through us to others.  We can be God’s agents of transforming, life-sustaining love.

As we make our way during Lent toward the Passion, may we keep in mind the greatest expression of love in the history of mankind:  Christ’s suffering and death.  This act of love set the stage for the Resurrection, an event that transformed the world for centuries to come, and continues to transform the lives of believers today.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan, February, 2012

[1] Tabletalk, February 2012, Ligonier Ministries, p. 17

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