Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John.
That’s pretty radical because google says that love is eros or sexual. Google says that love can be for food, friends or even television shows. Hmm? Love sure has gotten complicated over the years. I remember my friends boyfriends in college saying they need to go further romantically because of “love”. I have heard alcoholics tell family members that they needed to put up with their manipulation if they truly “loved” the addict. I get blind-sided when I hear people bully, cajole and harass people and then say that they are supposed to love because these people are related or in the same group or the same church. Hmm? When did love get so many new avenues of crazy? Perhaps we have substituted our love for God’s and blamed Him for all our inconsistencies? Defining true love should be left in God’s hands as much as possible!
Our family was discussing love tonight. One of the boys said he feels loved when he goes to church because the people help him and they worship together. The other one said he feels loved most when our family plays games together. My husband said that love is a very deep subject and that God’s love is so inexhaustible that we could study it every day for a lifetime and never fully comprehend it. While I agree with that definition I’m aware that this little blog will not cover the vastness of that subject. As a newlywed I enjoyed reading 1 Corinthians 13. Now after thirteen years of marriage it is more meaningful but still so unobtainable – without the Lord’s help.
I went to a ladies meeting last week after work. I had walked for over 10 hours that day and my feet were sore. I was tired and hot and cranky. I drove over 2 hours to get to the meeting and do you know what i encountered when I got there? Lovely, smiling ladies talking about their families and encouraging one another. Two of the leaders shepherded each person who came. They cooked amazing short ribs and a heavenly cheesy potato casserole. There were two options for dessert and both were mouth-watering delicious. Then someone shared their testimony which was vulnerable and displayed God’s faithfulness and strength. They prayed for each one and someone offered up a song. If that weren’t enough the hostess put leftovers in ziploc bags and my family munched on them for days. I thought it was one serving but it lasted for several meals, reminding me of their love and God’s. I felt nestled into their hearts and God’s as well. The “glow” of that evening still lingers in my heart and mind. No, religion isn’t about going to church but if we are to ever know Jesus and His love we need to understand Him in the company and fellowship of the saints. It reminds me of that passage in Acts that says,
Acts 2:46 (CSB)And every day they devoted themselves [to meeting] together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart… I know the Holy Spirit was at work but after this week I’m wondering if there was some heavenly, potato, cheesy casserole in the mix somewhere! Tongues, gifts – sure but warm bread and vittles certainly didn’t hurt and seems to be part of this whole Pentecost thing! People got saved daily and added to the church. Yes, spiritual things were taking place but I’m pretty sure some warm natural things were taking place as well as they gathered and ate warm bread.
Saturated in God’s love and others love is like fuel for the gasoline in your car – you get much further if your love tank is on full vs. empty. How marvelous to feel God’s love in the hearts of His people!
We’ve all read 1 Corinthians 13 but what about God’s type love? I don’t want to just know how He loves but His process of love. God is Trinitarian – all parts of the Godhead work together in different roles. That means God is collaborative. He doesn’t try to do the others part or the whole thing by Himself. God enjoys team effort. Smile. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son – that means that God’s love is giving and unselfish. God’s love is wholly unique and different from humans and His special love comes from a relationship with Him which means God’s love is exclusive. Love is squishy in American culture. Abductors, abusers and Hollywood stars can all use it for their specific motive but when God says He is love, it is to invest Himself in us for GOOD purposes and unselfish ends. No wonder they call it amazing!
We were listening to the song, God’s not dead tonight. I was kind of bored and wanted to hear some of the new songs but it is a favorite so I endured the monotony. Sometimes we hear things so many times that we forget how powerful the lyrics really are. Hear the words: Let love explode and bring the dead to life… Wow! How did I miss that? That creates a whole new category of love and what results from it. Love God style is the kind that seeks the best for others, their worth, their value, their success. That is very different than cultural love. Because God lives, mountains move and strongholds crumble. Because He loves, our hearts beat, resonate, sing. That is not average or tepid love.
In the next few weeks we are going to discover four distinct aspects of God’s love but for this week it is the overview. Love from God is not like love from any other person. It is strong, jealous, bold and enduring. Another song stated this week, “If you can hold the stars in place, you can hold my heart the same” (Skillet). Love from God can impact the universe but it can also keep our emotions and love steady and stable. Love is not fickle and many have misunderstood God’s love which can result in strange new religions and strange new ways to serve God. I’m reminded of the line in Princess Bride when Intigo Montoya says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Love is like that. We need a Biblical view of love if we are to understand a Biblical view of how God loves us. We also need to understand it so we can love in like manner.
Let’s explore this deep, deep love of God together, not for a chemistry lesson or spiritual gymnastic move but so that we can embrace God’s love for us, share it with our families and bring it to the nations. Thousands of songs have been written about it, but let’s let God sing new songs through our hearts back to Him as we embrace and share this marvelous, wonderful love.
Blessings and Fervent, great love to you! RenaeRoche 2018