Thursday Thoughts

“Love and do what you will.”

Depending on the lens with which you read the quote “Love and do what you will,” one might read it as a self-explanatory, easy to digest sentiment for the Christian. At the same time, another sees this as heresy. A tidied-up way of proposing one needs to seek out and do whatever they please. Outside of the context with which this statement originated, both lines of reasoning can be valid. So, let’s try to get to the bottom of what this statement is trying to get at. This quote is given as part of a sermon by St. Augustine on 1 John 4:4-12 and in effect, summarizes his message on the scripture. Let’s start by looking at the passage.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12

What is meant by the word “love” in Augustine’s short quote becomes a little clearer when looked at through the lens of love that John provides for us. Love cannot be defined by simply human means or understandings. Augustine believed that for humans to be able to exemplify love, there is something that must occur beforehand. This prerequisite is for one to be transformed by the one who IS love. For Augustine, humans are incapable of being love in the truest sense due to our fallen nature. But through the grace and transformative intimacy we experience by being close to Love Himself, we can more closely embody the love we have been called to be as His followers. We would be wrong to think that we leave the same after encountering the Lord and His Love: we are changed, our wills change, our desires change. We cannot continue as the same creatures we were before. Our former selves have been given up for the sake of a higher calling. All this change and transformation is for the purpose of God’s kingdom. I cannot love on my own, but His presence is enough to transform us so that in turn we can “Love and do what you will.”

As you go through your week, find time to open your heart and allow our Lord to transform you from the inside out. Allow Him to show you what love and His will are, so that we may love and do as He pleases.

No Comments