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Summary: Emotional maturity is rooted in love.

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Becoming an Emotionally Mature Adult

Series: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Brad Bailey – March 4, 2012

Following the recent tragic death of Whitney Houston at the relatively young age of 48… there has been a lot of reflection on something not being right in the soul of many like her.

In one recent interview with the drummer and music producer known as Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) he said, "I'm obsessed with why our heroes are not making it past 50." The article suggested that musicians live under too much stress and pressure. Questlove said, "To make it [as a musician], you have to desensitize yourself and be a robot. I'm 60 percent human and 40 percent machine." And then in an especially telling quote, he confessed, "We gotta live different …. I wanna be old. This is a wake-up call like no other." [1]

We gotta live different. We can all feel like we are more robot than human. That is the call we take up today as we continue in our series entitled: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Today – we come to what underlies all emotional maturity…which is the nature of love.

The significance of love is not referring to merely a romantic or sentimental sense of love…but to the power that defines our existence… and our relationships.

Listen to what the Scriptures teach us… as the Apostle John declares…

1 John 4:7, 9-11, 16, 19-21 (NIV)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

9 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. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him…. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

John is describing the great intersection between true SPIRITUALITY and EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

God bears love… it is his very nature… and if we truly respond to that love… then we will begin to love like God.

As we discover a genuine relationship with God who loves those He created in His image… we will develop genuine mature relationships of love with those He created.

1. Emotional Maturity is Rooted in Love

John makes it clear that love begets love. The call to love does not simply begin within our beings…but flows from God as the initial source of love. We are those created in God’s image…. And ‘God is love.’

Love begets love.

Listen to what the Apostle Paul describes…

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

We are ‘rooted and established in love.’ Love is what establishes our very being. It surpasses knowledge because knowledge apart from relationship does not make us persons… it reduces us to objects.

What is love?

There is a lot that could be said about love… but the quality of love that roots us is notably all about the quality of how we relate to others. It is the power of one being to give from themselves to another.

This is love… it is rooted in God’s action towards those who did not first love Him… an action of giving of Himself to meet a need we had.

Love is the power of one being to give from themselves to another.

That is why we are told that such love is reflected in how we do the same for others…for other beings like ourselves.

So it begins with the nature of being a separate being relating to the nature of another separate being.

This is what distinguishes mature love from mere functional relationships.

Martin Buber – ‘I and Thou’

In 1923 the great Jewish theologian Martin Buber wrote a work that captured a profound truth that continues to be referred to by many seeking to understand our nature and what is involved in maturity. (Little deep… so if your neighbor is looking tired…slap them around a little.)

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