I know! How cliche to choose love as our topic for February, right? But nothing is cliche about God’s love. It destroys all our perceptions of love, drawing us instead to a love that cuts deeper, rushes over us suddenly, wraps us in a protective cocoon and is never failing!
We often hear the phrase to fall in love or we hear that love grew between people, but that’s not the nature of God’s love. Loving is not something God does. Love is who God is. And God cannot help but to be who he is. So, he loves us, period! We never have to worry about loosing God’s love.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
God loved us first. He knows exactly who we are, what we’ve done, what we are going to do, what we think and how often we think it. That doesn’t stop him. He loves us anyway. He didn’t wait for us to know him or repent of our sin, he took the first step, pouring out the love we needed, before we even knew we needed it. I can’t imagine asking someone I love to die for me or for someone else that I love, but God did not hesitate. He sent his son to die for us giving us salvation.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38
We may say we love unconditionally, but let’s face it, sometimes, at least in the moment, we have to remind ourselves we love and force our actions into line. We live in a world of changing priorities and shifting allegiance. Nothing stays the same for long. But God’s love stays the course. This verse points out three truths about God’s love:
Though we may disappoint him or even reject him, he won’t take his love away. Nor can we walk away from God’s love.
- We may have to experience the consequences of our actions and we may feel that the discipline we receive through the consequences is a sign that God has withdrawn his love, but that’s just a lie the ruler of this dark world wants us to swallow. God loves those he disciplines (Take a look at Hebrews 12:7.)
- The third important truth about God’s love is that absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love.
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
What does God ask in return? Well, first and foremost, he wants us to love him in return. In the Old Testament God required sacrifices from his people so that they could be forgiven. Although God took care of that need for a sacrifice once and for all when he sent his Son to be that sacrifice, many of us still have it in our heads that God is asking us to sacrifice in order to earn his love. We think we must give offerings, or do things or make ourselves over in order to purchase his love. God says, that’s not true! What I want is for you to get to know me. And how do we get to know God? It’s just like we get to know each other. We spend time with them. As we spend time with God in prayer, studying his word and praising him, as we do, we get to know him. Those actions, the time spent together, is what God wants.
This is a familiar concept. I really wanted my husband to know me before we married and I wanted to get to know him. So, we spent time together, we talked, we listened and we talked about each other to others. The more time we have spent together, the more we know each other. We’ve been married 15 years, and still we learn things about one another all the time. God’s love is infinitely more complex than either my husband or me, so there are always new things to learn about him as we spend time together.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13: 34-35
And then, God asks us to show that we are changed by his love and that we are full of his spirit, by pouring out our love on others. God says we are to love those who are fellow Christ followers so much that the rest of the world will be able to see that we are his followers without even being told, because they will see our love for each other.
However, God wants us to be so changed by his love that we don’t just love Christ followers, but that we love even our enemies. Luke 6:27 tells us that he doesn’t just want us to love our enemies from a safe distance, he wants us to love those who hate us by doing good to them. You see, God desires that his love will be so life changing for us that we will become like him. Remember, he didn’t wait on us to love him, he loved us first!
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All verses are quoted from the New Living Bible
linking up at Lyli Dunbar’s Faith on Fire