A Prayer for Great Affection
By Alistair Begg
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” – Philippians 2:1-2
Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother than part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him locked tight in their hearts. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is a feeble love that the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer's love is a deeper stream than this.
Men have tried to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age. Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot. This is not just a routine attachment that the world's power may eventually dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key that opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to break this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, "Rightly do they love you." The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by how it appears as by what the upright long for.
It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. If only our hearts were capable of holding more and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, "Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven-yes, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds-that I might expand it all upon this fairest Lord Jesus." Unfortunately, our longest reach is only a span of love, and our affection is like a drop in a bucket compared with what He deserves. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is strong indeed; we trust that the Lord judges it in this way. If only we could give all the love in all hearts in one great offering, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!
Heavenly Lord, though we may not be able to love enough, teach us how to love like you. Lord, help us to live out your commands through kindness and understanding. Teach us that love is more than a feeling, it is an action. Amen.
Editor’s Note: the following is an abridged version of A Deeper Affection by Alistair Begg. To read the full article, follow this link.
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Originally published Saturday, 16 May 2020.