“I have loved you … with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” – Jeremiah 31:3
“This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
“... since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love one another” – 1 John 4:11
God deeply desires for us to know how much He loves us. When we read His Word, we see unfathomable expressions of God's love for us – an everlasting unfailing love that draws us near to Him. The parables Jesus shares in Luke 15 demonstrate that, no matter our condition, His love and care for us remains.
How many times have we become distracted with worries, cares and responsibilities? Like the lost sheep, we have wandered far away from Him. No matter how far we have strayed, He searches, finds us, and brings us back to Him with great love and joy.
Can you remember a time that you were in a dark place, feeling lost and abandoned, because of rejection, hurts, pain and grief? When my mother passed away, I thought I would never feel happy again, only deep sadness. Since we are as precious and valuable as a silver coin, He shines His light into that dark place. He removes all obstacles, cleans our wounds, and brings us back into His loving hands. He spoke words of light, life and love into my heart, which restored my joy!
Sadly, we often choose the path of self-reliance and independence. We take our God-given gifts and talents and attempt to accomplish things without Him. We ignore His plans for us and seek to live our own way. Inevitably, we find ourselves facing insurmountable difficulties, sinking into quagmires of our own making.
But we can run back to our loving Father and confess our sins to Him just like the prodigal son. He will receive us with joy, love, favor and blessings. For those of us who are like the older brother and have stayed close to the Father, He assures us there is no need for jealousy and anger, but that everything He has is ours.
God reveals “how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world, that we may have eternal life through Him” (1 John 4:9). Because of His great love for each of us, “we surely ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). This love is perfected through faithfully reading His Word, praying His Word and obeying His Word. Only then can we grasp how much God loves us and place our trust in His love (1 John 4:16).
“As we live in God, our love grows more perfect ... we live like Jesus here in this world” (1 John 4:16-17). The people of this world are searching for answers and relief from their pain. They need to see God. “But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us” (1 John 4:11). So, let’s throw aside, in humility and obedience, our self-serving ambitions and differences – differences in our race, culture, socioeconomic status and gender. Let’s showcase to the lost in this world real love, by loving each other because He loved us first (1 John 4:19).
Our God Hears!