1-14-2023 What is love?
1 John 4:8b GOD IS LOVE!
Since 9/24-2022, we’ve been talking about who God is, which, of course, is love. The unity of the Godhead, Father, Son & Holy Ghost. That fact that we desire eternal fellowship with the Father. Through Jesus Christ, we seek ‘salvation’ and once we’ve given our hearts to Him, we learn what God expects from us. And, of course, a seventh item of ‘how the church could and should grow. It is ALL based in love. God’s love. If you will – ‘agape love’. That unconditional love that seeks and does that which edifies others.
In the last entry (12/31/2022), ‘A New Year’, we closed saying that this love has to begin at home. With us.
This year, let’s make it personal. Let each one of us say “with ME”. So let’s bring it on home bringing our attitudes and relationship into alignment with the love of our Lord God.
The closer we walk with the Lord, the more His love will shine in and through our lives because we are seeking to do His will and to please Him. This doesn’t mean we hide out in our closets and just feel good as we bask in His presence. We can do that, but Father wants us to extend that love and good will towards those who are close to us, around us and then to those whom we encounter. after all, Jesus did say that the Holy Ghost gives us power and the ability to be witnesses for Him and to take His Word to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:7-8). We do have to get up off our duffs and do something!
Love. I’m not talking about a ‘pasted on smile’, but having a genuine concern and compassion for other people.
Do we fall all over people trying to please them? Of course not. We have to understand and be confident in our own relationship with the Lord, then learn where our talents and gifts are as we interact with others appropriately. Yes, we can do all things through Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:13), but we need to also consider the two previous verses in that passage, “I don’t speak out of my need for I have learned to be content in whatever state I find myself (says Paul). I know how to live with little and I know how to live when having more than enough. I know hunger and how to be full. I know how to live having plenty or to be in need” (Phil. 4:11-12). Whatever state we find ourselves, we need to be content knowing that God is with us.
God is my shepherd! He satisfies my needs and gives me rest. He refreshes me as He guides my steps down His pathways (of course, I have to listen to His direction). Though trouble may be all around me, I will not be fearful for my God comforts me. He gives me peace in my troubles. He anoints my head with oil and blesses me. He prepares my table before those who don’t like me. I know His goodness and mercies are with me no matter what I do or wherever I go. I will follow His direction, always, with all my heart, mind, soul and strength (Psalms 23, Mark 12:28-34).
I know who I am in Christ Jesus so I am not overbearing towards others, but neither am I a doormat. I follow Jesus’ example of love. Jesus is the true example of being assertive. So, as with Jesus, I am tender with those who truly seek Jesus (Matt. 9:20-29) but carry a sharp, two-edged sword for those who truly are not (Matt. 23:23-28).
Living in God’s love is the key to our success in this world. Living in His love means being obedient to what He tells us and then treating others as Father treats us.
Yes, He reprimands us when we get off track and that reprimand brings us back into proper alignment in His will. As our heart lines up with Father’s will, that’s when He will give us our heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4, Matt. 6:31-34).
Jesus tells us that love fulfills the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:36-40). Starting with the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:3-17), God describes His love towards us. Then, through the actions of forty-two prophets mentioned in the bible (not all have their own book), how He guides and directs us, provides for us, saves us from peril and even reprimands us when we get off track.
From Genesis through Revelation we get a pretty good picture of how God’s love works. Yet, understand, that even our knowing the bible, Father has still not shown us all about His love.
Remember, even before His birth, Jesus was also called Emmanuelle (God is with us – Matt. 1:23) and He is the Word (Jesus). So, in the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1). God, the Father, came into this world, Himself, in the person of Jesus, to redeem us from our sins and reconnect us back with Him – forever (John 3:16). There is no greater love that one can demonstrate towards another than to give his life for him (15:13). Yes, there have been martyrs for God over the ages and we are appointed to die once (Heb. 9:27), thank you Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:17). Yet, we all don’t die for Jesus, literally (in the flesh). Once we’ve accepted Him into our heart, we do crucify the old man and allow the new man (now in us) to live for Him (Rom. 6:6-9). If you will, the old man dies in Christ and the new man lives in His love.
So what is love? Jesus tells us that when we do something to/for any of His brothers, we’ve done it unto Him (Matt. 25:40). We receive Jesus into our heart allowing His love to abide in our heart and allowing Him to work in us and through us via our speech and our actions. And all this is possible because the Holy Ghost has taken up residence within our heart. Thus, we return our love to Jesus by doing for others. Truly loving because the Creator has first loved us.