Saturday, August 26, 2017

preciousness of the one loved

artwork by Kimberly Simmons

Kimberly Simmons' beautiful work of art, which exudes such colorful expressions of love, reminds me of the way we love and adore our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and draws my heart to a word study from Ephesians 1:15-17

Amplified: For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints (the people of God), I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

NLT: Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

Phillips: Since, then, I heard of this faith of yours in the Lord Jesus and the practical way in which you are expressing it towards fellow-Christians, I thank God continually for you and I never give up praying for you; and this is my prayer. That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.

Wuest: On account of this, I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you and of your love to all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you as I constantly make mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the sphere of a full knowledge of Him.

Young’s Literal: Because of this I also, having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love to all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the recognition of him.

A word study of love from Ephesians 1:15...love (agape) in the Greek classics spoke of a love called out of one's heart by the preciousness of the object loved. This is the idea inherent in the Father's proclamation, "This is My beloved Son..." Agape is the love that was shown at Calvary. Agape is God's love and is the love that God is. It is not human affection, but is a divine love, self-sacrificial in nature, seeking the benefit of the one who is loved. The degree of the preciousness is measured by the infinite sacrifice which God made. The love in John 3:16 is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation of the preciousness of the one loved.
 


In Mark 14:3, we read, “Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.” As we read this description of exorbitant devotion, so often we hone in on the fact that this was a costly, dear, and precious thing, a fragrant, expensive perfume worth more than a year’s wages, that Mary lavishly sacrificed in reverencing her King. Yet her extravagance moves us to ask ourselves, what thing that we consider costly and dear might the Lord want us to offer up to him: a relationship? a habit? a cherished possession? Perhaps it is one of the gifts God has given us that lies hidden or saved for use for a time that never comes. These very treasures could bring light to restore someone’s faith, to touch someone’s heart, to change a life. One of these important things could be the very “jar” that he wants us to break before him. Notice, Mary broke open the jar, representing that her life was no longer centered in herself but in Christ Jesus, that she counted Him as the treasure above all others. Is your life a broken jar, the contents poured out in joyful abandonment to the Lord? Of those who live as broken jars, Jesus says, they have “done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6).

Lord Jesus, Your agape love in John 3:16 is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation of the preciousness of the one loved, please show me the things that I adore, things I consider dear and precious that need to be broken so that I, too, may do a beautiful thing to You. The most costly gifts I can give You are my life and my love in ways that are pleasing to You. I give you also the gifts and treasures You have given me, and I offer them up for Your use. Today, let the fragrance of my brokenness bring joy to You, oh how I adore You! In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 1:15-17  … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:15-17 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on
Ephesians 1:15-17 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

10 comments:

  1. This post dovetails nicely with some thinking that I've been doing lately on how beloved we are in Christ. Not one thing I can do (or not do) will make me more loved -- or less loved.
    Thanks, Beth!

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    1. Oh Michele, I so agree with you! I love that word, "beloved," what a comfort it is to rest in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Many blessings to you friend!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this devotion, Beth. It's a great way to start my week!
    Wishing you blessings ahead.

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    1. Marva, thanks for stopping by! Many blessings to you!

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  3. What a beautiful thought--that I am precious to God (now, to just remember that the jerk who cuts me off in traffic is equally precious to the one I love--a mind-blowing revelation).

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    1. So true! It also helps me to remember that, "There, but for the grace of God, go I" and they are sheep without a shepherd. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. Oh Beth, God's Word never fails...never lacks anything. The various versions of this verse draw a slightly different lint around the same Truth, adding a flavor anew.

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment! I so agree with you...many blessings to you!

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  5. Beth, As always your posts are so edifying.

    I was especially struck by the question you asked of what "costly" thing am I willing to give up for the Lord. I never thought of the alabaster jar in such personal terms to myself.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Karen, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing such an affirming comment! I so enjoyed your post today about relinquishing our will to God's will...here's my prayer...When I pray, I picture Jesus, my Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm…I take whatever concern I have, or person for whom I am interceding by the hand…I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand…knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do…He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us…and I walk away, thanking God for how He is working in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding...experiencing a feeling of peace…positive relinquishment…as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing…I relinquish my will to Yours.” Many blessings to you sweet friend!

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