Brussels sprouts are disgusting. At least that is what I believed before meeting Stephanie. It’s funny how love changes things. After knowing Steph for fifteen years, and being married to her for thirteen, I have an entirely different perspective on Brussels sprouts. I enjoy them. I order them at restaurants. I willing put them on my plate when they are prepared and presented at a meal. My love for Stephanie has changed my attitude for Brussels sprouts because love changes things.
While my palette and love for food have changed and grown out of my love for my wife, a stronger love has changed me in much deeper and eternal ways. Charles Wesley’s hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” describes this love, pointing us to the source and power of true and lasting change in our lives: the all-surpassing love of God.
The way we, as men, usually seek to bring about change in our spheres of influence is very different. When facing a particular temptation, we try to exert our will to overcome our temptation through strength and discipline. When we want to motivate our children to different behavior (e.g., “STOP JUMPING ON THE COUCH!”) we tend to rely on threats and, sometimes, punitive measures. In our work environments, change comes through strategy, performance reviews, and leveraging financial benefits. Earthly change is the result of power, law, and judgment.
God, however, doesn’t seek to change us by force of might or a heavy hand laid upon our back. Each person of the Trinity involves Himself in pouring out an incomparable, excelling love to change us. Jesus, the “joy of heav’n” Wesley writes about, has come to us in His incarnation, full of compassion to take our place and punishment for our sin. The Spirit breathes life into us, those who were once spiritually dead, indwelling us and changing us throughout the course of our entire lives. The Father pours out His acceptance, never to cast out again. The trajectory of the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit is to bring us to completion—holy, blameless, and glorious in Him.
Love is what changes us. The more we rely on and gaze upon God’s great love for us, the more we are changed. Today, brothers, let us not seek to change ourselves by power, law, and might. We need to be changed by the love of God. His love is incomparable, far deeper and stronger than any other love. Let’s fuel our hearts for change today with the love that surpasses all other loves.
Written by Jeremy Writebol
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Text: Charles Wesley, 1747
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us Thy humble dwelling;
all Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
pure, unbounded love Thou art;
visit us with Thy salvation;
enter ev’ry trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all Thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
glory in Thy perfect love.
Finish then Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee.
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise