Friday is for Heart Songs
“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”
(1 John 3:13)
I love being loved. I love preaching the word of God and knowing on the faces of the congregation, that what I am teaching is being heard clearly, appreciated and excitedly applied. I love “coming down from the pulpit” to a stream of men and women, young and old, who value my labor and “pat me on the back” for a job well done. I love it.
And that is what is so deadly.
It’s deadly because there is a dark place in my soul, in all of our souls, that delights to be loved even when the desire to be loved becomes a warped idolatry of ourselves and our gifts. It is dangerous to the soul to pursue being loved. Much better to pursue the One who loves perfectly and to love others for the greatness of his love for us.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
(1 John 3:1)
There is in us all a pursuit of self-love that is warped. But the kingdom sets us on a different path. We find ourselves, our best selves, by losing ourselves in self-less service of God and others (cf. for a start Mt. 10:39, 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24, 17:33; Jn. 12:25)
Which is why John reminds us to not be surprised when the world “hates” us (see 1 John 3:13). Don’t be surprised. Hold on to the truth. Keep valuing Jesus more than self, more than love, more than life. Because Jesus is the pearl of great price (Mt. 13:44-46). He is worth everything, even the hatred of the world.