“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
Or so go the lyrics of Dionne Warwick’s famous oldie.
Who would argue that we need more love in a world filled with hatred, greed, malice, and selfishness? Indeed, Jesus summed up the whole teaching of the bible in just two “love commands”: Love God fully and love others as he loved you.
On the one hand it seems simple enough. Be loving in what you do. But it’s not so easy in application is it? It took me decades to realize you can’t make someone love you in the way you want to be loved. Someone confided in me that they’ve spent decades learning how to love someone.
We need more than love. We need understanding of how to love. We need understanding to know how to love and respect each other and to live with each other in peace and in an understanding way. We need understanding on how to love our children. A child says to their parent, “If you love me you will give me what I want.” The parent responds, “BECAUSE I love you so much, the answer is No.” (Have you ever considered that God answers us with the same parental love?)
We need understanding to know God’s will and how to avoid being fooled and taken captive by smooth-talkers and vain philosophies. In the second chapter of Colossians, Paul writes to people he loves saying,
“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you… and for all who have not met me. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, SO THAT they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you through fine-sounding arguments.” (Colossians 2:1-4)
Understanding, wisdom, knowledge…the world offers it’s version of these. Have you ever wondered how much these versions of “truth” have influenced your thoughts and ambitions? Complete understanding is only revealed by God. Jesus, who bears the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3), bears his full authority and power and wisdom in the lives of those fully devoted to him. Want wisdom? Turn to him. We can seek understanding and power in legalistic rules and rituals but they aren’t found there. We can search the philosophies of great thinkers but their wisdom is limited at best and powerless to transform us to live as we were meant to be. Smooth-sounding arguments, political promises, and advertisements may tickle our ears, but only God reveals to us the treasures of his wisdom.
Imagine a world needing not just love, but the understanding of God’s will and purpose. Not a world with more rules of “do’s and don’ts” – they will never free us from our slavery to selfish and destructive indulgences. What we need is an understanding of God’s wisdom in our lives. And he offers it for free to anyone who will ask him, “Lord help me to understand more of who you are, your will, and your purpose. Let me see myself and others through your eyes. Grant me wisdom, strength, and faith to love you and live with others in an understanding way.”