Love That Transforms

Hello, my friends!

One of the single biggest things I have struggled with in life is the issue of love. I have always had problems with receiving love from family, friends, and anyone in general, really. Early childhood trauma and a bit of Asperger's wiring have most likely been the culprit. But the love of God has melted away much of that resistance in me. It’s still there in the natural in some ways, albeit much reduced, but the love I feel from my Father in Heaven has just grown stronger and stronger each and every day. Well, looking back anyway, it’s also a season-upon-season thing for me. So I do receive love better now than in the past, I believe. We just tend to have deeper revelations of His love over time when we are earnestly soaking and abiding in His word and presence each day. When you think about it, that's actually pretty logical. And regarding feeling loved, time with that person is a big factor... Hello!

Have you ever pondered what truly shapes your relationship with God? Like, something that’s a basal element, purely foundational. It's not just about believing in His existence or, as mentioned before, quality time with Him, but rather what you believe about His character and nature. Your perception of God can either draw you closer to Him, thoughtfully speaking, or push you away, as in putting a haze between you and Him in your mind and heart. He’s still close; He indwells you. You just don’t experience that beautiful relationship as much as you could. So today, let’s explore this profound truth and how understanding God’s love can transform our faith journey.

Imagine for a moment that you're convinced God is constantly waiting to catch you in a mistake, ready to bring down His judgment. How would that affect your approach to Him? You'd likely find yourself tiptoeing through life, afraid to make a wrong move, desperately trying to avoid divine punishment. But is this really the God revealed to us in Scripture? Far from it!

The apostle John, who had a unique perspective on Jesus' love, tells us something remarkable: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment; and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). This verse challenges us to reconsider our view of God. Instead of viewing Him as a harsh judge, we're invited to see Him as a loving Father, delighting in His children.

Think about Jesus' relationship with His disciples. John 13:1 tells us that Jesus loved them “to the end” or “to the utmost degree.” This wasn't a fleeting affection but an enduring, limitless love. And here’s the beautiful part—Jesus wanted His followers to understand that this same love extended from the Father to them as well. In John 14:9, Jesus declares, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” The disciples had a living, breathing example of God's love right before their eyes!

But did all of them grasp this incredible truth? Some, like John, embraced it wholeheartedly. He often referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Others, like Peter, had to learn it through failure and restoration. Remember Peter's story? He was so confident in his love for Jesus, but when put to the test, he denied knowing Him three times. Yet Jesus didn't cast him aside. Instead, He restored Peter, showing him that their relationship was based on Jesus' unfailing love, not Peter's imperfect efforts (John 21:15-17).

Now, here's a question for you to ponder: Where do you find yourself in this spectrum? Are you basking in the assurance of God's love, or are you still struggling to believe it's true for you?

The apostle Paul prayed that believers would be “rooted and grounded in love” and able to comprehend “the breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ's love (Ephesians 3:17-18). This isn't just head knowledge; it's a transformative experience that touches our emotions. Romans 5:5 reminds us that “God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

But here's the key—it’s not enough to simply know about God's love intellectually. We must believe it, embrace it, and let it shape our entire being. John emphasises this in 1 John 4:16: “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

When we truly grasp the unconditional nature of God's love, it revolutionises our faith. We begin to understand that there's nothing we can do to make God love us more and nothing we can do to make Him love us less. This revelation becomes the foundation for a vibrant, fear-free relationship with our Creator.

Consider this: God's holiness, often misunderstood as a source of fear, is actually an expression of His love. He's not holy because He's afraid of sin; He's holy because He is love. And as we grow in our understanding of His love, we too are transformed. It's not our striving or fear-based obedience that produces holiness in us; it’s responding to and abiding in God's love.

Let's take a moment to reflect on how this understanding of God's love impacts our daily lives. When we wake up in the morning, do we approach the day with a sense of dread, worried about meeting God's expectations? Or do we rise with an overwhelming sense of His love, knowing that His mercies are new every morning? (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Think about how this affects our prayer life. Do we come before God trembling, afraid to voice our true thoughts and feelings? Or do we approach His throne of grace with confidence, knowing that we're accepted and loved? (Hebrews 4:16) The difference is truly life-changing!

And what about our interactions with others? When we're secure in God's love, it overflows into our relationships. We're freed from the need to constantly prove ourselves or earn acceptance. We can love others generously, just as we've been loved by God. As 1 John 4:19 reminds us, “We love because he first loved us.”

This revelation of God's love also transforms how we view our struggles and failures. Instead of seeing them as evidence of God's disappointment or abandonment, we can view them through the lens of His unwavering love. Romans 8:38-39 assures us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. What an incredible promise!

But perhaps you're thinking, “This all sounds wonderful, but how do I truly believe and experience this love?” Great question! It starts with spending time in God's Word, letting His truths soak into your heart. Meditate on verses that speak of His love and affection for you. Spend time in prayer, not just asking for things, but sitting in His presence and allowing Him to minister His love to you.

Remember, this is a journey. Just as it took time for the disciples to fully grasp Jesus' love, it may take time for us too. Be patient with yourself. Each day, choose to believe what God says about His love for you, even when your feelings or circumstances seem to contradict it.

So, my friends, I encourage you to take a moment today to reflect on your view of God. Are you living in the freedom of His love, or are you still held back by fear? Remember the words of Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” What a beautiful picture of our loving Father!

Let's pray for a fresh revelation of God's love in our lives, my brothers and sisters. May we wake up each day overwhelmed by His affection for us, secure in our identity as His beloved children. As we do, we'll find our faith growing stronger, our fears diminishing, and our hearts overflowing with love for the One who first loved us. This is the journey of faith—not a striving to earn God's favour! It’s a daily discovery of the depths of His amazing love for us.