Perfect Love

Lindsey Jodts, Groups Pastor, South Barrington | July 2, 2024

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. 
Proverbs 22:6

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  
James 1:5 

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 
Genesis 3:6 

Recently I had a conversation with a wise, older friend about God. We talked about God’s kindness, generosity, and purpose for our lives, but mostly, we talked about God’s love. One of the most important and counter-intuitive ways of understanding God’s love, we thought, was through the blessing and complexity of free will. We all have been given a choice—how to live, how to love, how to decide what is good and right. A God of insurmountable love would want nothing less than to give us the freedom to choose how and what we love.

While I’d love to say that my choices, my pursuits of wisdom, and the objects of my love are always in line with God’s will, we all know that’s not true. I seek wisdom on my own; I love things other than God, and I react with unkindness or pride or anger—we all do. It’s the shadow side of having a fully free will and a limited human body. And yet, the God of the universe loves us all through the broken choices that come with that free will. God seeks to teach us wisdom, guide us through life’s struggles and complexities, and help us see and experience a greater truth than the one we figure out on our own. 

The Proverbs are one of those sources of wisdom—small, bite-sized guideposts pointing us to the good life. Each holds a truth about God’s will and heart for the world: that it would live in perfect shalom. 

Yet we live in a world where each imperfect person has free will. We each get the opportunity to choose to follow the wisdom and teachings of God, the model of Jesus, and adhere to the warnings of the prophets—or not. 

As a mom, I would love to train up my kids with every ounce of wisdom I have gleaned from my own mistakes, the things I’ve learned from teachers and friends, and the peace that comes in the moments of being seen by the Father. I would  send them off into the world with the compounded knowledge of generations of Christ followers. I would point them so clearly to Jesus that they have no desire to look away. 

In my own fallibility, though, and theirs, my training isn’t perfect, and neither are their choices. But I still love them deeply and always will. Just like the Father will always love me, despite my imperfect choices. 

Isn’t that perfect love, after all?

Next Steps

Spend time journaling or in prayer: where are you seeking wisdom? Are you placing any person, experience, or source of knowledge above the wisdom of God? Surrender those things to God, then lean into the promise of James 1:5 and ask for wisdom from the Lord, trusting you will receive it.

Choose a Proverb to read and reflect on.  Look for a guidepost pointing to the good life God has in store for us.

Have you started the New Testament reading plan yet? If not, you can find it in the app or on our website. Join in at any time!