But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8
We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Love is patient, love is kind….. 1 Corinthians 13:4
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
The great pursuit in the Christian life is to continually discover the limitless love of God for us. Most of us know only of very conditional love; that if we perform and act rightly, then we will be “worthy” of being loved. This is not the love that God shows to us! Romans 5:8 reveals how God loved us and sacrificed for us even in our most sinful state. Jesus, while suffering on the cross to atone for our sins, was full of love and mercy stating “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24) How very grateful I am that God has forgiven me my sins by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. When we talk about God’s love, we are talking about sacrifice made with a selfless motivation. If we call ourselves Christians who have God’s Spirit indwelling us, it should be proven by our love for God and other people in fulfillment of the two greatest commandments. (Matthew 22) It is nonsense to talk about knowing the Lord and loving Him when we cannot love and forgive our brothers and sisters as we are commanded to do. The great “tell” of our faith life is not in how many Bible verses we can recite or how often we go the church, the Pharisees did well in these, it is in our capacity to love and sacrifice for others. I find it fascinating that when God wanted to define love for us in 1 Corinthians 13, it begins with patience and kindness as the first traits. Patience and kindness take a high degree of sacrifice, and more concern for the benefit of the other person, than for “getting things done”. In our hustle and bustle world, many prize pragmatism over being faithful to God’s Word and direct commandments. We think that the “ends justify the means” in our decision making. If we look carefully at the life and ministry of Jesus, it was not about pragmatism, but rather revealing the truth about our Heavenly Father’s nature. Jesus took time to bless children, to heal those the world threw away, and to teach a bunch of knuckle-headed disciples. Our life is to be like His! We are to be His disciples who have been taught by our Master in how to live a God-pleasing life. When we make our life priority to honor God and love people, we will be heading in the right direction. As each of us choose to spend time daily in reading our Bible and praying with God’s Spirit leading us, we can grow in our understanding of God’s great love and purposes. Daily seeking of God will strengthen us to trust in Him each day to live the life of faith that we are called to. I hope each of us will draw near to the Lord to know His love for us so we can then share it with others.
Pastor Gary Houdek