I saw this quote posted on social media recently and immediately my evangelistic hackles stood on end.
So you can understand Gods value of Love- He gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, so undeserving people can find their way to Love.
It's not that is isn't truth, oh my goodness, quite the opposite. It is very much 100% truth! The problem is, in a world screaming and shouting at someone outside the Love of God- it seems like utter nonsense.
What is Love? According to lifehack.org, there are six definitions of love-
Love is never rushing into relationships
Love is not being jealous
Love is giving yourself a chance
Love is to stop expecting
Love is maintaining privacy
Love is avoiding misunderstandings
They go on to say "Love is more of a feeling that a person feels for another person. People often confuse love and lust. Love means to be deeply committed and connected to someone or something. The basic meaning of love is to feel more than liking towards someone. It is a bond that two people share." To feel more than liking someone... that is quite an interesting definition.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
This is how the Word of God describes Love- patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud, certainly not self seeking or dishonoring to others. Above all not easily angered or record of wrong keeping.
Of course we have the ever popular John 3:16-"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
And my favorite, Messiah Jesus, Himself says "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
The world offers such an anemic description of Love compared to the Love of God, doesn't it? The problem arises when the world you are sharing the Love of God with does not see its need for such a love. One that seems to get by well enough on, not rushing into relationships, not being jealous, giving itself a chance, not having any expectations, maintaining privacy, (I mean, what in the world is that anyway?) and then my personal favorite, avoiding misunderstandings. Yea ok, best of luck with that last one. Relationship 101: expect misunderstandings to occur, especially with your children.
So we find ourselves with this challenge- explaining to a world devoid of God's love, that His love is incredible and beyond what they can comprehend. It's a "too good to be true" kind of Love. Not to mention, the WIIFM factor of the Love of God. What's in it for me?
In every relationship there is give and take, so what does God want from me, what's His endgame? What does He get out of it, if He's even real, that is....
Many assume the Lord wants us to give something of ourselves and worst of all, it's likely more than we can give, so, yea. Never mind.
Perhaps all they've heard their whole lives is "if you don't believe in Jesus you're going straight to hell." Well, while that is certainly true, that's not exactly what you lead with, nor is it something people really want to be confronted with. In Jesus' day, many didn't necessarily believe much or care much about the after life. It was all about the now life, appeasing the gods of the day so that crops would grow, babies would be born, and money would fill the banks. Can you imagine had Jesus gone around saying, "ya'll are gonna burn in hell without Me! Better get on your knees and give your life to Me or it's curtains for you!"
Does anyone actually say "it's curtains for you" anymore? Too much Bugs Bunny I guess...
No no no... Our Messiah Jesus traveled around seeking to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) He chose words to explain what He came for that were filled with great wealth and victory for our lives! But unless the Spirit of God opens your spiritual eyes and ears, these rich and victorious words sound like rubbish and nonsense. At the time He was on earth, Holy Spirit had not fallen on the people, they didn't quite understand everything He taught. He taught the Kingdom of God, and He healed and provided and restored as well. He gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, caused sick people to be well, cast out demons, fed a bunch of hungry folks, twice, and provided financially for those in need. Guess what, He still does this today- when you come to know Him, when you receive His love. I cannot stress this enough, it is more than eternal life. It is life eternal, now.
What is this lost business? So glad you asked! When, where and what exactly was lost? Right, I'm getting to that.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose to listen to the voice of the serpent rather than remind themselves of the truth of our God. (Seems as though not much has changed in 6,000 years.) And so not only were they lost, all was lost. At that moment in time, what was once perfection and life become death and destruction. What was lost was the perfect representation of God's Kingdom here on earth, His rule, our ruling and reigning with Him. Our perfect intimacy with Him, was lost for seemed to be forever.
They no longer could walk with Him in the cool of the day, and neither can we now. Shame and fear gripped them, and so it does with us today. Approaching God was lost, or at least the confidence to do so, and so not only do we not boldly go before the throne of grace there are those who doubt such a throne exists.
These children also lost their identity and influence through their sad choice. There are far too many believers who don't even know their true identity, how on earth can we share the possibility of a new identity with a lost and broken world?
“But because the Messiah lives in me, I’ve now died to the law’s dominion over me so that I can live for God. My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives His life through me — we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine! — Galatians 2:19-20 The Passion Translation
Empowered by the faith of the Son of God... do you live in this way?
As for our influence, we were meant to rule and have dominion over the animals and all of creation. At the Cross of Messiah, all of that was redeemed, fully restored to us who have chosen Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus died, rose again, ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to have dominion over darkness, influence a world by being Messiah's Ambassadors equipped to demonstrate His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven through acts of love, wisdom and power.
This is what we get when we come to faith in Jesus Christ! Identity, influence, and intimacy, true love of God. True love of the Father.
Yes He gave His one and only Son so that you might live in all of eternity, but it's so much more than that. There is true Life and true Love, right here on this earth. Right now, today!
But when we receive His love, His scandalous insanely amazing love, we get something out of it, beyond eternal life!
Believer- this is your true nature now, identity, influence, intimacy- ruling and reigning, doing life with a Kingdom mindset.
Unbeliever- this is available to you now, identity, influence, intimacy- power to be healed and heal others, fear and shame utterly cast aside and life now!
Beyond anything else I could ever share with you; Jesus is all I have of value to share, that is truly it. I could sharing healing through the use of essential oils and eating plants. I could share practical tools on mindset shifting and mental wellness- but outside of sharing Jesus the Messiah, all of that is ridiculously pathetic. He is the only way for you to have any hope today, in this life and for all of eternity.
Regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done, God is good, so very good, and He loves you. He sent His Son who paid the ultimate price for you, which means, He made an exchange for you- your diseases for His healing (like every disease you can think of, He died for it), your sad ashes and depression for His beauty, our slavery for His freedom, our poverty for His wealth- I could go on...
He died for our sins, so we could be forgiven and along with that forgiveness comes a package of goodness to amazing to believe unless you have accepted and received.
Do you know this kind of Love? Or are you still searching for that pathetic anemic love described above? When you love someone, there is no way you could ever give them or even receive the kind of Love our God offers, it's impossible for humans to do this.
But I think that's what the post was trying to convey- the value of that Love, the Love of God, is unimaginable. It's available to any and all who choose, no "strings" attached. Just a gift, just a receiving of His love.
Allow Him to give you this Love, dear friend, you won't regret it.