Hi everyone, Rob here. We’ve recently been meeting with a number of people who have been through a lot of suffering. Separation, custody battles, domestic violence and divorce top the list and yet each one of these people is discovering that in the midst of their troubles, there is God reaching out to them with unconditional love. They are discovering that God has raised up people to be his hands and feet; to give his hugs, to listen with his ears and to love with his heart. I am reminded yet again that God’s mission is a mission of love and he desires that his children will become people who love in his name.
How do we become more loving people? I think Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus gives us a very strong clue:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19).”
We can only give what we know we have received and we have received the love of Christ. This is personal. Do you know that you are a beloved son or daughter of a loving Father (1 John 3:1)? Do you know that God so loved you that he sent his one and only Son to die for you (John 3:16)? Do you know that God takes great delight in you (Zephaniah 3:17)? When we grasp the love of Christ for us we are able to pass that love on freely and joyfully. We know that it doesn’t run out! There is an endless supply of divine love for us.
So why do we struggle to love? Why do I suffer from ‘love-fatigue’? Why am I still selfish and hard-hearted so often? Because I forget. We forget. We forget that we are beloved children of a loving Father, not a demanding tyrant. We forget that Christ came for us because he loves us, not because he wanted to heap pressure on us to be perfect. We sometimes forget because Satan came to steal, kill and destroy. He steals the Fathers words of love from our minds and replaces them with words of shame and guilt. He seeks to kill our tender hearts and replace them with hard hearts. He seeks to destroy our connection to God and to others by persuading us that we can do life on our own. In the name of Jesus Christ we must resist his lies and accusations! He is out to destroy our ability to relate well to others, because it is in that relating that the love of Christ is passed on.
To be part of God’s love revolution then, we must resist the enemy and draw near to God: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you (James 4:7-8).” We choose to remember who we really are – beloved children of God. We immerse ourselves in that knowledge and let it soak deep down into our hearts. We worship and rejoice because his love is better than life. Then we pass it on because God’s love always overflows. So there’s some deep work of prayer to be done but as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails.”