“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘How have You loved us?’” (Malachi 1:2) This is the message God is always sending us, and the unfortunate response from us is usually, “Seriously? How??” All the trials and hardships of life bombard our minds: “Where is the love in this?”
Yet, 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” If God is the very personification of love, then I am missing something big. Indeed, God’s incredible love goes beyond human comprehension, and when we try to understand it through our experiences (which is really all we have to relate to), we will always miss it. This fact and limitation is not hidden from our Lord. So, God pours out grace to go way beyond what any of us would do to try to make this personally and individually known.
So, we find many books written on this subject in an attempt to share the authors’ revelations. The reality is when we start personally experiencing God’s mind-boggling, infinite love filling the aching cavern in our hearts, it is such an amazing phenomenon that it must be shared.
The beginning of a new year seems to be an appropriate time to focus on God’s love — the most life-changing reality in the world – with the hope of somehow knowing and understanding Him better…and as a result, better understanding who we are in Him. I am under no illusions that I will ever have a handle on this while I live on this earth. In fact, I personally believe God’s love is so vast and deep that I will have the joy of learning a new aspect of His character in Heaven every single day throughout eternity (provided time is measured in eternity). That prospect is very exciting! But, I also want to learn as much as I can here, so that I never misunderstand Him and what He is doing, and thereby, falsely accuse Him (which I have done plenty of times). I have also come to understand that I cannot be, do, or teach what I do not know. So, if sharing God’s love with others is something He would have me do, then I have some learning ahead.
God has already shown me my starting point. His love is not about “doing,” but about “being.” If I am in His love, it impacts my thoughts, words and actions to look like Him – a little like my skin and clothing will absorb fragrant perfume to the degree my “odor” changes because of its presence. Even so, I can fake it with words and actions, and “do” loving things, but my thoughts always betray me. He knows my thoughts – I cannot lie to Him. So, this becomes an inside-out job, only accomplished by abiding in the Vine (Jesus), so that His life flows through me. Yet, I find abiding very difficult – the best I seem to be able to do is run in and out (which likely explains the “faking it” part).
Therefore, my joy and encouragement is that this work will have to be totally supernatural – He will have to do it (which is what I believe He wanted all along). My part is reduced to giving Jesus permission to do this work in me. My prayer is Paul’s from Ephesians 1:17-19, that I may have the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better, and that the eyes of my heart “be enlightened in order that [I] may know the hope to which He has called [me], the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”