What’s in it for you? Everything that matters
As a marketer of technologies at a university, I present the advantages of an invention in what we call a feature-benefit statement. An innovation’s “feature” is the “what”; its “benefit” is the “so what” or “why” we should care. The benefit is what sells.
For example, these are a couple of advantages we list in our description of a “Wearable Multi-Port Surgical Device to Aid Surgeons in Hands-On Procedures”:
- Enables fluorescence-based detection of labeled tissues, reducing incidence of accidental damage
- Provides surgeons with real-time feedback during open surgery, allowing them to access the region of interest with precision
It’s a bit of science speak, I know. But each feature stated is followed by the benefit it provides — for both the surgeon and the patient. This invention reduces the incidence of accidental tissue damage and provides access that allows for precise surgery. Two wins highlighted by the structure of the feature-benefit bullet point.
The feature-benefit statement is so powerful in marketing, I used it to market myself. The last time I applied for a job, I used the feature-benefit form to share my accomplishments. Here are a couple of examples from my resume:
- Developed website, designed curriculum with online elements, and trained K-12 teachers, parents, and students, resulting in school-wide adoption of an online learning platform
- Served as accreditation team head, creating a school library and leading the school through numerous improvements to achieve its first SACS accreditation
The feature is important. Don’t get me wrong. On my resume, the feature is what I did. But the benefit is what my action accomplished for my company. The benefit is the wow factor that sells inventions and job candidates. (I got the job. 🙂 )
Today, I want to talk about feature-benefit statements as they appear in God’s Word. (No more science speak or resume touting, I promise.)
Features of love
I suggest that what you may know as “The Love Chapter” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, lists the features of love, while another chapter outlines the benefits of love, the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) we marketers try to highlight. These verses are why 1 Corinthians 13 is known as “The Love Chapter”:
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails;1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NASB
Paul lists features of love he encourages believers to exhibit. At the start of Chapter 13, he presents a variety of examples of spiritual gifts he may use, but, he says, if he does “not have love, I am nothing.” Then he launches into the features of love in the verses above.
Perhaps in your study of “The Love Chapter,” like me, you’ve been encouraged to substitute the word God for love. “God is patient, God is kind…” Or maybe you’ve been told to substitute your name for love. “Sara is patient, Sara is kind…”
Substituting God’s name — because the Bible does say “God is love” (1 John 4:8) — reminds me of His character. Substituting my name — because Christians are supposed to be known by their love, right? — inspires me to be more loving. It reminds me of the features of love I should exhibit. It shows me what I lack.
Live “The Love Chapter” in your daily life, and, wow, you’ll win friends and influence people and change the world. But 1 Corinthians 13 is about you and me exhibiting love. As is my resume’s “feature” statements, the chapter is about what I do. What we should do.
The real ‘love chapter’
But I would argue that the Bible’s real “Love Chapter,” the one with wow factor, the one that sells Christianity best, is Romans 8, not 1 Corinthians 13. Romans 8 not only demonstrates God’s love but also evidences the benefits we receive from that love.
While 1 Corinthians 13 lists what we should do (or what love looks like), Romans 8 puts forth God’s love and what He did for us — and how we benefit.
“The love of God, Paul explains in Romans 8, starts with ‘no condemnation’ (v.1) and ends with no separation: nothing ‘will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (v.39),” writes Nicky Gumbel in the devotion for the Bible in One Year.
This chapter includes my favorite Scripture verse:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28, NASB
I borrowed from that verse when I named my blog All Things Work Together. My About page explains why I did:
I have seen God work in and through me — giving me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that I might make a stand for righteousness and bring Him glory (Isaiah 61:3). In short, He has shown me, indeed, that He can work everything — even tragedy, heartache, pain and loss — for my good.
But my explanation focuses on “all things work together for good” and skips over the “to those who are called according to His purpose.” But the verses that follow v. 28 expound on that:
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.Romans 8:29-30, NASB
I emphasized the words foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified, as outlined by Paul in these two verses. The first four verbs already have happened to a believer — by God. He foreknew, predestined, called, and justified. (Side note: God predestined us so Jesus would have brothers and sisters — us!) “He also glorified,” the text says. Paul uses the same verb tense — the aorist form in Greek for simple past tense — for glorified, though it refers to our future glorification.
Same person acting — God. Same past tense. God is the one who does it all for us. Who did it, I should say.
The benefit of security
“This is astonishing,” wrote Gumbel in his devotional. “It is possibly the most daring statement of faith in the whole of the New Testament. It speaks of total security. The security of a Christian is solidly grounded on the unwavering love of God. This sure foundation is deeper than all your circumstances and feelings.”
This, my friends, is our benefit as believers. Our benefit from God’s love — eternal security. And why? Not because of us, but because of Him.
When I was in college, I attended a conference in which one of the speakers said, “The whole of the Gospel is outside of me.” I wrote it down in my Bible, but then I had to get my Bible rebound, and the cover and the inside cover pages were lost. So I can’t attribute that quote as I would like.
But the whole of the Gospel is outside of me. And you. God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified us. It isn’t because of what we’ve done — other than trust that He has done it! It is completed — even if we are still here on Planet Earth.
Doesn’t the Bible say that Hell is eternal separation from God?
9 These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,2 Thessalonians 1:9, NASB
In contrast, Romans 8, “The Real Love Chapter,” indicates that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not even me. Not even you. No created thing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35, 37-39, NASB
The glory of love
The more I read Romans 8, the more convinced I am that it is “The Love Chapter” of the Bible. It outlines what God — in love — has done for us. It doesn’t just show what love looks like — its features as we see in 1 Corinthians 13 — or encourage us to show love. It shows Who loves us and what that love means for us. Our WIIFM. Our benefit. The advantage statement of all advantages!
Imagine if God put that on His resume!
- Foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified all who trust in Me, removing all condemnation for sin and providing an eternity secure in My love
God’s security — in which we have no condemnation and no separation — is based on His love, His perfect love. We have eternal security because He loves us and calls us His own.
I’d suggest if you want to see the features of love, read 1 Corinthians 13. But if you want to experience the benefits of His love, read Romans 8, “The Real Love Chapter.” And say “yes” to His call.
And that, my friend, is the one love story you don’t want to miss.
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