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James 1:12 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:59 mins 7 secs

Personal Love for God as Model for Personal Love in Marriage; James 1:12

 

The subject at hand is testing. One of the greatest areas of testing that we all face is people testing, the area of relationships. There are all categories of relationships that we face—husbands and wives, parents and children, employees and employers, people in general, a variety of relationships which provide a vast array of tests for us.

 

The person who loves in impersonal love elevates the object of love over personal needs, therefore it is completely antithetical to all forms of arrogance. Arrogance must be driven out of our souls before we can advance into this level of love. To the degree that arrogance is dominating our thinking, to that degree we are limited in moving forward in terms of personal love for God, impersonal love for mankind, and occupation with Christ. The arrogance skills of self-absorption, self-justification and self-deception are excluded. The first of these arrogance skills is self-absorption, we begin to focus on ourselves. Then because of our self-centredness we begin to justify our behaviour (of course we are right; the other person is wrong). We move into the whole area of self-justification in order to prove to ourselves that we are the ones who have indeed who have been heart, we are the ones who have been wronged and mistreated, so of course we have the right to act the way we are doing. That causes us to move into the third skill which is self-deception. When we get into self-justification we begin to deny reality as it truly is and we begin to deceive ourselves. This develops further into more self-absorption and we get into a wicked cycle of arrogance, building one of these arrogance skills and developing into the next. Those arrogance skills must be completely wiped out from our thinking before we can advance very far into this triplex of love-personal love for God, impersonal love for all mankind, and occupation with Christ. 1 Peter 5:5 NASB "…GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD [ARROGANT], BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." Humility is part of grace orientation. As we are grace oriented God the Father deals with us because of humility that has developed there. 1 Peter 5:6 NASB "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time."

 

You must develop genuine humility. You do that by learning doctrine, letting it saturate your soul, assimilate it into your thinking and begin to face reality as it is under the authority of God. So there is a relationship between true and genuine humility and authority orientation as it relates to God and as it relates to all secular authority. The issue is not self-exaltation. The key here is that if you want to have glory, if you want to exalt yourself, if you want to be elevated to any position as far as God is concerned, of exaltation or glory, then the key is humility. Humility does not mean being a door mat. Humility means recognizing who and what you are in all reality and living within the framework of your position and role in the family of God. One of the most humble mean in all of history was Moses. He was the leader of a tremendous nation and he exercised confidence, boldness and authority, yet the Scripture says he was the most meek of all men. So humility has to do with recognizing your proper place and role in the plan of God, and that is based upon an understanding of Bible doctrine.

 

So we advance through the various stages of infancy and childhood by passing a series of tests. These tests are brought into our lives, we have seen, in order to give us the opportunity to apply the doctrine that is in our soul. James 1:3 says that we are able to count it all joy because we know something. We know that the testing of our faith, the doctrine in our souls, produces endurance. As these tests intensify into advanced forms of testing—people testing, system testing, momentum testing—we see that they are designed to eradicate the arrogance skills from our souls. We can only advance into spiritual adulthood by developing true and genuine humility, which is related to grace orientation and by getting rid of arrogance in our soul.

 

The two aspects of enduring devotion and respect are united in our personal love for God. In terms of human relationships, especially in marriage, they are separated. They are distinguished in terms of human marriage. There is a distinction made between enduring devotion and aggressive love on the one hand, and responding love which is respect or fear, on the other hand. We see this in Ephesians 5:33 NASB "Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must {see to it} that she respects her husband."

 

The greater our respect for God the less we are willing to disappoint God. The only way we develop respect for God is by learning His Word and all that He has done for us. So what are the characteristics?

1)  It is responding. This is the fear and awe as a responding love. God initiates; we respond. That is the corresponding act on our part. It is based on a continuous and deepening understanding of all that God has done for us, both in terms of our salvation and spiritual life. The more we know, the more we respond.

2)  There is deference. This means that we submit to His judgments, to the revelation of His will in terms of divine viewpoint, and to the mandates of Scripture. When there is conflict between our thinking and God's thinking we defer to Him, we submit to His judgment.

3)  There is admiration. We come to know what Christ has done for us and we become awed by the complexity and the wonder of God's magnificent plan. We admire Him more and more because of all that He has done and accomplished on our behalf.

4)  Honor. In response to His humility we admire Him and we honor Him. We seek to bestow glory on God who has performed so much on our behalf.

5)  Esteem. Esteem is defined as elevating God to a high level of prestige and priority in our life. He becomes the priority in our life. We begin to change the way we do things, the way we spend our time, the way we spend our money, how we use our talents. We begin to transform them so that the priority becomes God and because we esteem Him so highly that we are going to use our time, our talents, and our treasure on His behalf.

6)  Consideration. We give Him first consideration in all that we do. Consideration includes the idea of careful, thoughtful concern and deliberation based on God's desires for our life. This is what the Bible means by meditation. Meditation means that you don't just think about doctrine when you come to Bible class. It means when you go home, when you are driving places, when you are at home and you take time to study and reflect over your notes. How do these things apply to me? It is focussing thinking, letting these ideas and doctrines sift through your mind, renovating your thinking.

7)  Partiality. This is the idea that you are partial to God. It indicates a special fondness or bias in favour of the object of personal love. Therefore God's plan is always given preference in our lives.

 

Think about this in relationship to your spouse. If you are a man you need to think about your love for your wife in terms of these characteristics—initiating, aggressive, humble, intense, steadfast, loyal, consecrated and set apart to her alone, and dedicated to that task of loving her. If you are a wife your love is responding. It includes deference, admiration, honor, esteem, consideration, and partiality.

 

Because this comes under the category of impersonal love it also relates to our personal love for God, but we are talking about these characteristics as part of impersonal love because they are exemplified by Christ's love for us at the cross. Because they are part of impersonal love we know that they are not conditional. In other words, the husband has no right whatsoever to say, 'Well I'm not going to do these things because she is none of these' or 'Once she gets her act together, then I'll do this.' That is not impersonal love, that is conditional love. On the other hand, the wife has no right to say. 'Well I'm not going to show him deference, admiration, honor, esteem, consideration, impartiality, because he doesn't do any of these other things and the guy is just a real loser.' Jesus never says that to us; He doesn't say we are a sinner so He is not going to initiate. The issue is never a conditional quality, it is unconditional, impersonal, and based on what who and what Christ did for us on the cross, not on the basis of somebody's behaviour, activities, or flaws. God doesn't give us a way out. Husbands, this is what God expects of you. Ladies there is no way out, this is exactly what God expects of you; it doesn't matter what that man does or doesn't do. This is what is expected of each one of us in those relationships.

1 Corinthians 13:4 NASB "Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

So these define for us the characteristics of impersonal love which must under gird any human relationship, especially marriage, if there is to be success. This is the love that is the basis for the dynamic roles of both husband and wife in Christian marriage.