A high view of Scripture leads to a selfless love for others. (Caleb Kaltenbach)
How do we develop a selfless love for others? And by selfless, I’m not referring to disregarding ourselves, putting ourselves in unhealthy positions, inviting dysfunction and codependency. Selflessness is a humble, generous sacrifice. It is in opposition of selfishness.
Can we admit we have a selfishness issue, a pride issue? Maybe you can say, “Not me!”
There are many things I admire about the book and life of Nehemiah. One that stands out is his position of prayer at the beginning of the book. He receives a disheartening report about his people, and although he has not lived where they are, he immediately postures himself in prayer not for “them” but for “us.” He “confesses the sins we have committed…We have acted corruptly toward you and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances you gave…” Nehemiah doesn’t separate himself; he makes sure he has unity within the community, even when it has to do with some irresponsibility.
We rarely do this. We make it an us and them issue. We blame others and fail to see our own fault or weaknesses. We compare and exalt and demean. There’s more: Nehemiah then makes the trek to the people he included in the “we,” and he encourages them and works alongside them as they rebuild structure and relationships.
Yes, he goes beyond his boundaries and comfort and above his own needs and perspective.
When we’re humble and sacrificial, that’s how we love.
A high view of Scripture coincides with selflessness. A low view of Scripture coincides with selfishness. How? A high view of Scripture takes a look across all of it. It keeps individual verses in context. It seeks the consistency of God’s character and filters everything with truth. The focus is to trust God’s priorities and timing and let him do the work instead of the agenda we self-righteously project onto God.
When we take a low view of Scripture, we focus on verses in isolation. We let our own assumptions, understanding, and goals drive what we’re willing to see. We don’t pull back and look at the context of God’s character. We choose selfishness.
The low view is easier. It’s comfortable. But in its selfishness, it drastically restrains the truth and love we’re able to share.
Let’s be better—me, you, us.