Loving Before Winning

601223_10150854339017723_717198441_n_0Many of us enjoyed the Fall DLD last Saturday in Walnut Creek. I am grateful for all the work and generosity so beautifully demonstrated! Of the many insights I gleaned from this day, one stood out as it rolled from the lips of Dr. D. A. Carson:

“We cannot win people unless we first love people.”

Now, this is obvious to us. Biblically, culturally, relationally, this is nothing new. Love is very, very important. We’ve all preached that sermon more than once. So where is the profundity for my own heart here?

I guess it’s experiential. I have seen people love to be loved where I am living. They are surprised by it, humanly. They are confused by it, when they find out we’re evangelicals. They are even a bit frightened of it, since it invites vulnerability. In the end, though, they are compelled by it, because love of this variety is pretty rare.

Here’s the catch: loving people doesn’t guarantee we’ll “win” them. The gospel is so deep and demanding, so heart-level, that no amount of almost perfect love from any of us will do. God must save. My hope is that I will have postured myself into the heart of my friend, while aligning myself with the loving heart of God, and living in the same stream as Jesus who loved so well. Perhaps then I won’t be a detriment to His saving plan. Perhaps then I will see, one day, the awakening we prayed for this weekend.

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