Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What Does Love Have To Do?

Readings for the Day
Jeremiah 31-32, 1 John 4

Verses of the Day
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Thoughts for the Day
The theme of 1 John is to affirm that Jesus truly came in the flesh, and to teach the believers how to recognize the false teaching that Jesus really did not come in the flesh. If Jesus did not truly become human then his primary purpose could not be fulfilled. The primary purpose of Jesus' coming to earth is to reveal what God is like and especially that He is love. In the past, God revealed Himself in many ways, but God specifically revealed Himself and His character when Jesus came from heaven to earth.

If God is love, as verse 16 states, then God's purpose is to show His love to those who He has made in His own image. It then would make sense that God's love is fulfilled when it is made complete in us. Most important in this passage is the order and flow of God's love. The passage says, "not that we loved God, but He sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." We can't know love unless God has revealed what it is like. It was through God's love for us that he initiated His restoration project.

As we receive and accept God's love in Jesus, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit of Jesus lives in us, we can love like God does. So therefore spiritual maturity could be defined as the extent to which God's love is in us and flows through us to the world. God's love is made complete when it does it work in us, and then is shared with others in Jesus' name. This is why unless someone has experienced God's love in Jesus, it is hard for them to really know Him. But if one has experienced God's love it is impossible to keep it to one's self.

Like any relationship, our love for God can wax and wane and grow cold. I think this happens when we get so busy that we don't make time for God. We don't take time to pray. We don't take time to read the bible, and reflect on the Gospel of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. We don't take time to have deep friendships with other believers that go beyond superficial and syrupy religious platitudes. We don't take time to worship on a regular basis. Or, we are not prepared to truly worship and spend our time thinking what we are going to do when church is over. Okay enough blubbering.

Bottom line: God loves you so much. You are His delight and prized possession. As His love permeates our lives, we can love others. This is our supreme purpose and what we were made for.

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