May I Put This In Your Mind?
In Rolling Stone (May, 2019) Patrick Doyle wrote about country artist Willie Nelson:
Nelson wrote a new song last night. It’s called “God is Love.” He speaks a verse of it, making eye contact with me the entire time: “Take these words of wisdom with you everywhere you go/Tell all the religions in the world, and through them the truth shall flow/But God is love, and love is God, that’s all you need to know.”
Nelson says he doesn’t see God as a “big guy in the sky, making all the decisions. I think God is love, period. There’s love in everything out there – trees, grass, air, water. Love is the one thing that runs through every living thing. Everybody loves something: The grass loves the water. That’s the one thing that we all have in common, that we all love and like to be loved. That’s God” (p. 94).
I'm a fan, having enjoyed Willie's songs for decades. That God is love surely is biblical, flowing right out of Scripture. I hasten to add, however, that God's love transforms. Whenever agape love gets near or in a human being, she changes. The nature of God's love is that it will reform, conform, transform: it changes me. His love is a redeeming fire, never leaving us as we were. The ultimate end of agape is that we become "transformed into the image of His Son." To believe God is love is to realize I can be, indeed must be, different than I am today.
Pivot to human relationships based on agape love. I am impressed significantly these days that the nature of love includes admonishing, or warning one another. God is using the covid crisis to warn his Church, to admonish his Body. He loves us; thus he warns us-- sometimes carefully, with a whisper; sometimes abruptly, with a rebuke.
The Greek word "noutheteow" is used 9 times in 8 verses in the New Testament. It literally means "to put in mind" but is translated in various ways:
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. Acts 20:31
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. Rom. 5:14
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 1 Cor. 4:14
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. Col. 1:28
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Col. 3:16
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 1 Thess. 5:12
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thess. 5:15
Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. 2 Thess. 3:15
Putting warnings into our brothers' and sisters' minds is agape love. Admonishing one another is as valuable as honoring or serving one another. "Don't go there, look out, stop it (cause the consequences are painful / foolish / deadly), and the like are part of the normal Christian life. If you love me, warn me. Help me avoid traps, foolish decisions, sinful directions. The fully-orbed love of God includes warnings, both from Him to us, and us to one another.
Embracing admonishment cause it's in the Book, Perry Floyd