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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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How do we know God loves us when we can't feel it?

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People have different ways of approaching reality. Some are analytical, reasoned, and logical. That's not me. Not that I can't be analytical, reasoned, and logical. I can, but those are deliberate disciplines that I practice in contrast to my instinctive way of approaching the world, which is through my feelings.

I'm just a feeling kind of person.

Maybe too much sometimes. When people talk about having certain spiritual gifts, I always say I have the spiritual gift of weeping. I cry at weddings and baptisms and movies. I can't sing Charles Wesley's hymn And Can It Be without getting choked up.

There's just something about the words, "Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?" I'm not a very good singer, but I love to belt those words out. Toward the end of the song it says, "My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee." At that point, I usually have to keep myself from jumping up and down with gratitude and joy.

Jumping up and down to Charles Wesley—go figure.

Not surprisingly, I resonate with Scriptures like Paul's word in Romans: “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (8:15-16, NLT).

That kind of gut-oriented experience of the faith is foundational for me. I’m a true daughter of John Wesley, whose heart was “strangely warmed.”

This gut-oriented way of approaching the world made a recent encounter very disorienting. I was approached by a young woman toward the end of a weekend together. She earnestly asked how she could really ...

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