Last Year, “A Praying Life” topped my book list. Paul Miller does it again this year. A Loving Life is an incredible relationship book and inductive study on the book of Ruth.
Miller breaks the book, and the story, down verse by verse to teach and reveal so much. Some things that you may already know, but need constant reminding, others that you may learn for the first time. He translates the story from a Hebrew perspective and sheds light on so much of what we miss as Westerners.
The major theme of both the book of Ruth and A Loving Life is “hesed” love: the concept of an enduring, steadfast, stubborn love. The type of love that God has for us and that Ruth and Boaz both demonstrate. It is a selfless, vulnerable love that disregards personal comfort and security. Yes, Ruth, and Boaz model this love but it is perfectly displayed by Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Miller shows the parallels between Naomi’s story and ours. They both start out in tatters. They are full of pain, destitution, loss, hopelessness, and death. But only through the perfect love and God’s covenant can healing and redemption be found.
Additionally this book is full of valuable, gospel centered relationship advice and real life anecdotes. Some of the highlights for me were:
• The necessity of loving past your feelings.
• Hesed love builds gospel community.
• We are incapable of this type of enduring love and that leads us to a reliance on Christ.
• When our love is properly ordered with God at the forefront, our lesser loves can truly flourish.
• The importance of obedience despite diversity.
• Christ is the standard for what love should look like.
• We can grow in our relationship with God, through pure pursuit of Him, up to a point. But pursuit of Christ like, hesed love can lead us to deeper faith, intimacy and relationship with God.
Our relationships our broken, but God’s perfect love is not. Only through Him can our lives and relationships be complete. This is Truth that I am constantly in need of reminding. Everyone should read this book!