This audio podcast by John Piper helps us address the question of loving others. How do I love to the fullest measure? How do I ensure that my good deeds are not selfish ambition disguised as love?
He says, “If you abandon your quest to be satisfied in God to the fullest measure, you will not be able to love people to the fullest measure.”
Our love for others should be an overflow of the joy and satisfaction we have with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The danger is that otherwise it can become manipulative, looking for some kind of return from our good works (e.g. glory, fame, recognition).
“Loving people means seeking to expand your joy in God by including them in it, whatever the cost, even if it costs you your life.”
Jesus’ love for the world (John 3:16) cost Him his life; love is cut from the cloth of sacrifice.
This is helpful to me as a medical doctor who seeks to serve others out of love; this is not about my own reputation or identity. One blogger put it this way: “For instance, I do good deeds, because by doing them , I feel better and good inside. So, technically, it’s for myself. I am proud and pleasant of myself for doing them. But, today, some of my classmates said that it’s worthless doing good deeds, because you don’t get anything good from doing them.”
Finding our satisfaction and joy in Christ enables us to love others. God is glorified and magnified as we serve other and seek to include them in the joy we have found in Christ. So we do good deeds not for ourselves but as an overflow of our satisfaction with Jesus.