We sent an email earlier about the 5 Core Deacon Values. This email talks about the first Core Value, which is: A Deacon is “Loving”…
It’s always tough to talk about love because to talk about love is to talk about God since “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Moreover, it’s a topic that we’ve heard in Sunday School many times. We all know that the most famous chapter in the Bible that talks about love is 1 Corinthians 13, and the most famous apostle that talks about love is St. John the Beloved. This time however we’ll be taking a slightly different approach to talk about the subject.
Knowing God is Loving God
When the Bible described Adam’s love for Eve, the Holy Spirit described this saying “Adam knew his Eve his wife” (Genesis 4:1). Note that the Bible used the term “know” to describe Adam’s love for Eve. This is why to know God is to love God. Just as Adam knew his wife and after uniting with her he became fruitful, similarly we know God and unite with Him in a spiritual manner and we become fruitful.
There’s also another way where knowing God is loving God. Take the following verses for example:
– “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10)
– “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
– “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” (John 7:29)
– “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)
– “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)
Now go back and read these verses again and replace the word “know” with “love”. This will give you a different insight into the verses. (Note however that you can’t do this exercise with just any verse…)
Loving God is Knowing God
The more you know God the more you love Him and the more you love God the more you know Him. How? The closer you are to God the more you’d want to know about Him. You’d naturally want to read the Bible just to know more about Him and how He deals with each one in general and with you personally. You’d naturally want to guard your words, actions and thoughts to make sure they’re all pleasing to Him and start looking for ways to serve Him.
Wisdom is Love
There’s also a connection between Wisdom and Love. Whenever we pray for Wisdom we pray saying “enlighten our minds, our hearts and our understandings” (Second Absolution of Prime). Also whenever we ask someone for words of wisdom we say “enlighten us”, or “Shed some light on the subject”. Similarly Love is also described as light and hatred as darkness. St. John the Apostle says “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.” (1 John 2:9). From this we see the connection between Wisdom and Love.
Love is Wisdom
If the beginning of Wisdom is the fear of God as King Solomon said, then Love is the fulfillment of wisdom since “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). When the disciples of St. Anthony once asked him for words of wisdom, to everyone’s surprise he said “I do not fear God!” His disciples then marveled and asked him “How can you not fear God?!” He then answered saying “I do not fear God because I love God, and perfect love casts out fear”.
Deacons and Love
We put “Love” as the first Deacon Core value because love is the crown of virtues. All the rest of the virtues are like jewels on the crown where without the crown these jewels would just be random, without purpose and don’t make sense. Similarly if one has other virtues and does good deeds but does not do them out of sincere love for God, then these deeds are random, without purpose and frankly don’t make sense. This is why St. Paul said “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Thus the first Core Value that we’d like to practice as Deacons is Love. Sincere love for God, love for the Church, love for each other and love for the service of God. If our service is not done out of love for God then it amounts to nothing or may even be held against us.
There are many other great values that we could have included in our Core values such as Unity, service, zeal, etc… But if you really think about it, these all come naturally if you have sincere love for God.
How to Increase Your Love for God
Here are 5 practical things you can do:
- Pray. Remember, Love is of God (1 John 4:7), and “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). Moreover, Christ teaches us that “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This means that it’s fruitless to try to do it on your own.
- Quiet Time. This is where you sit with God in solitude and complete silence. You don’t even need to pray or tell God a single word. Just be in His presence in quietness and submission and enjoy your presence with him. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
- Realize that you’re the object of God’s love and pleasure. The Wisdom of God says “And my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:31). Realize that you who “were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). This means that when the Father looks at you, He sees His “Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Also realize that you were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). This all means that any love you’d be giving God would be a love that you’re simply giving back. “We love Him because He loved us first.” (1 John 4:19).
- Read the Bible. Again as we said earlier knowing God is loving God. Reading the Bible is a great way to know God more, to meet Him and to listen to what He has to say to you personally every single time you read His word.
- Serve Him. Serving God is another great way to kindle your zeal for Him. This is your part which you can do. This is the effort you can put in so that God’s grace would be poured out on you. Just because God said “without Me you can do nothing” doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything or don’t have any part. Of course not! You still have to do something and God’s grace will work with you and do everything.
Happy Valentine’s day!
In Christ’s love,