May 2 – 8, 2021
“We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Study Help: The Adventist Home, 50–54; Testimonies, vol. 2, 200–215.
“The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. … In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action.” The Acts of the Apostles, 551.
1 LOVE AS A PRINCIPLE OF ACTION
1.a. What is love? 1 John 4:16.
Note: “Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly growth, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 135.
1.b. What does true love lead one to do? Romans 13:10; John 15:9–14.
Note: “Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. If this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship, but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1140.
“Love is a plant of heavenly origin. It is not unreasonable; it is not blind. It is pure and holy. But the passion of the natural heart is another thing altogether. While pure love will take God into all its plans, and will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God, passion will be headstrong, rash, unreasonable, defiant of all restraint, and will make the object of its choice an idol.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.
2 LOVE IN MARRIAGE
2.a. Why was marriage largely associated with sin in Noah’s day? Luke 17:26, 27.
Note: “There is in itself no sin in eating and drinking, or in marrying and giving in marriage. It was lawful to marry in the time of Noah, and it is lawful to marry now, if that which is lawful is properly treated, and not carried to sinful excess. …
“In Noah’s day it was the inordinate, excessive love of that which in itself was lawful, when properly used, that made marriage sinful before God. There are many who are losing their souls in this age of the world, by becoming absorbed in the thoughts of marriage, and in the marriage relation itself. …
“God has placed men in the world, and it is their privilege to eat, to drink, to trade, to marry, and to be given in marriage; but it is safe to do these things only in the fear of God. We should live in this world with reference to the eternal world.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.
2.b. What parallel of marriage does Scripture give in illustrating love? Ephesians 5:25, 26.
Note: “In all the deportment of one who possesses true love, the grace of God will be shown. Modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, and religion will characterize every step toward an alliance in marriage.” The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888.
3 TESTING YOUR LOVE
3.a. How is genuine love demonstrated? 1 John 3:16–18.
Note: “The proof of our love is given in a Christlike spirit, a willingness to impart the good things God has given us, a readiness to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice in order to help advance the cause of God and suffering humanity. Never should we pass by the object that calls for our liberality. We reveal that we have passed from death unto life when we act as faithful stewards of God’s grace. God has given us His goods; He has given us His pledged word that if we are faithful in our stewardship, we shall lay up in heaven treasures that are imperishable.” The Review and Herald, May 15, 1900.
3.b. Give an example of pure, sanctified love. John 12:3; Luke 7:40–47.
Note: “Talk, pharisaism, and self-praise are abundant; but these will never win souls to Christ. Pure, sanctified love, such love as was expressed in Christ’s lifework, is as a sacred perfume. Like Mary’s broken box of ointment, it fills the whole house with fragrance. Eloquence, knowledge of truth, rare talents, mingled with love, are all precious endowments. But ability alone, the choicest talents alone, cannot take the place of love.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 84.
4 PROMOTING HEALTHY SELF-RESPECT
4.a. In what sense are the servants of God encouraged to be wise? Proverbs 9:12, first part. How does home ownership relate to self-respect?
Note: “The sense of being owners of their own homes would inspire them [the poorer classes] with a strong desire for improvement. They would soon acquire skill in planning and devising for themselves; their children would be educated to habits of industry and economy, and the intellect would be greatly strengthened. They would feel that they are men, not slaves, and would be able to regain to a great degree their lost self-respect and moral independence.” The Adventist Home, 373.
4.b. Describe the contrast between self-support and dependence upon charity and the government. Proverbs 10:16; 21:25.
Note: “Those who are endeavoring to reform should be provided with employment. None who are able to labor should be taught to expect food and clothing and shelter free of cost. For their own sake, as well as for the sake of others, some way should be devised whereby they may return an equivalent for what they receive. Encourage every effort toward self-support. This will strengthen self-respect and a noble independence. And occupation of mind and body in useful work is essential as a safeguard against temptation.” The Ministry of Healing, 177.
“Many who are qualified to do excellent work accomplish little because they attempt little. Thousands pass through life as if they had no great object for which to live, no high standard to reach. One reason for this is the low estimate which they place upon themselves. Christ paid an infinite price for us, and according to the price paid He desires us to value ourselves.” Ibid., 498.
5 UNDERSTANDING TRUE SELF-RESPECT
5.a What does God do when man fully humbles himself? James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, 7.
Note: “It should not be difficult to remember that the Lord desires you to lay your troubles and perplexities at His feet, and leave them there. Go to Him, saying, ‘Lord, my burdens are too heavy for me to carry. Wilt Thou bear them for me?’ And He will answer: ‘I will take them. “With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” I will take your sins, and will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect; for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen. Your remorse for sin I will remove.’ ” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 519, 520.
“Let us, under all circumstances, preserve our confidence in Christ. He is to be everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Then let us educate our tongues to speak forth His praise, not only when we feel gladness and joy, but at all times. …
“Let us not talk of the great power of Satan, but of the great power of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 328.
5.b. How can we have confidence toward God? Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:21.
Note: “It is not pleasing to God that you should demerit yourself. You should cultivate self-respect by living so that you will be approved by your own conscience, and before men and angels. … It is your privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame and remorse. [Romans 8:1 quoted.] While we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, the word of God does not condemn a proper self-respect. As sons and daughters of God, we should have a conscious dignity of character, in which pride and self-importance have no part.” The Review and Herald, March 27, 1888.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Describe the difference between love and passion. Define true love.
2 What is pure, holy love? Contrast God’s ideal for marriage with the concept prevalent in the days of Noah.
3 How can love be proven?
4 What are some ways to gain self-respect?
5 How can self-respect be maintained?
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