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Chapter 9 - Love - The Opposite of Selfishness
Love has long patience, is kind; love is not emulous of others ; love is not insolent and rash, is not puffed up, does not behave in an unseemly manner, does not seek what is its own, is not quickly provoked, does not impute evil, does not rejoice at iniquity but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The modern world has significantly distorted the word 'love'. For example, teenagers are almost continually bombarded with messages picturing love as something that is fallen into or out of. They come to consider that the emotional sensations they experience of lust, desire, anticipation, and expectation are what is meant by 'love'. This confusion often results in poor marriage decisions.
Real love is an act of will. A new mother who gets out of bed in the middle of the night to feed her newborn is illustrative of this self-sacrificial love. We can also see a demonstration of this love in the example of the Good Samaritan that was cited in answer to the question of how one would love his neighbor as himself..
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. - Luke 10:37
The goal of Christian maturity is love.
Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith. - 1 Timothy 1:5
The process of dying to self is a process of replacing selfishness with the self-sacrificial character of love.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: - 1 Peter 1:22
It is interesting to note that there is a process of 'soul purification' accomplished by 'obeying' truth resulting in 'unfeigned love' of the brethren. This sheds light on how we are able to 'die to self'. We might imagine our soul attached to the flesh and pulled to follow after the world. As we submit and comply with truth, our soul becomes less attached to the flesh and more attached to the spirit to be directed by the Holy Spirit. As selfishness has less and less claim on our heart, we are able to consider others and act in service to them demonstrating love.
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