I’ve been talking with a few friends recently about this big-on-everyone’s-agenda-issue called love.
The reality of love.
The definition of love.
The outworking of love.
And today it has been a topic at the forefront of my discussions, my thoughts and my study.
There’s a great quote that seems to sum up humanity’s quest and desire to be, well, loved.
Every heart was made for love, created in the image of Love Himself.
Created in the image of Love Himself.
That makes the outworking of this a Big Deal.
Because so often when we talk about love, we forget somehow in our busy-preoccupied minds, that God is love.
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus… (Jude v 21)
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4 v 19)
As the Father loved Me, so I also have loved you; abide in My love… These things I have spoken to you, that… Your joy may be full. (John 15 v 9-11)
We are to abide, reside, and stay focused on living in His love.
Because the thing is, when we even start to get our heads around just a tiny little bit of the majestic, mighty, love of God, it changes everything.
How can it not?
And not in a fluffy, pink-heart-and-roses way.
In an ‘understanding that the love of Jesus frees us from the dominion of sin and lesser pleasures by instead allowing us to experience the Superior Pleasure of encountering His burning heart of love’ kind of way.
That changes everything.
So I’ve been thinking today about how this love changes the way I live. And my priorities. And my attitude to sin. And my attitude to what I spend my time and money on.
Because when we glimpse something of the magnitude of the heart of God for us, we realise that it’s not a small thing to take on the name of this transcendent, holy God and then walk in the opposite direction.
I want to please His heart.
Because the only way to be yoked to Jesus is to be going in the same direction as Him. And Jesus defined loving God as being deeply rooted in a spirit of obedience (John 14 v 15).
And I want to run in the path of His commands and not away from them.
Mike Bickle does some great teaching on the love of God in which he describes the love burning in God’s heart as having at least five distinct expressions that are interrelated (these are taken from mikebickle.org).
1) God’s love for God: Each person in the Trinity intensely loves the other with all their heart.
2) God’s love for His people: He loves His people with all of His heart, mind and strength. He loves the redeemed with the same intensity that He loves within the fellowship of the Trinity.
3) Our love for God: God’s very own love is imparted to His people by the Spirit (Romans 5 v 5). It takes God to love God.
4) Our love for ourselves: We love ourselves in God’s love and for God’s sake.
5) Our love for others: We love others in the overflow of experiencing God’s love (1 John 4 v 19).
That changes everything.
Because this kind of love, by definition, demands both a response and an expression. To live pleasing to His heart. To live in a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of sacrificial love that can be shared and multiplied.
One of my great heroes in faith is Hudson Taylor (spot the heart-for-Asia-missionary-geek).
But I love his story.
He was told he was wasting his life when he walked away from a potentially affluent medical career in England to live a life of loving abandonment among the peasants of China.
But when his friends told him he was wasting his life, he was known to have replied, ‘What? In a moment I am going to be dead and only what I invested in that Man, and the thing that was in His heart, that is the only thing that will last.’
Love changes everything because He changes everything.
And only what I invest into that Man, that precious Jesus, will last.
Love loves to love. And He is my very great reward.
Made for love.