Summary: Exploring the power of God
There’s nothing like tucking your little one in bed at night. You put the covers over them so that they are snuggly warm, you give them a great big hug and a gently placed kiss on the cheek and whisper, “good night sweetie” and then, the moment of all moments, with those innocent little eyes looking up at you through the dark this tiny little voice replies: “I love you mommy,” “I love you daddy” and off to sleep they go…(sigh)
What endearing times! Such precious words! There’s nothing quite like those words!!
Yet, even more specifically, there’s nothing quite like that one word! What is it about “love?” It has the potential to turn even a heart of stone to “soft, moldable clay,” in the right person’s hands.
Well, in my attempt to find the “correct” definition of this word I turned first to the dictionary to see what it might have to say. And, as I suspected, in there, I found no less than 5 different definitions for that word ranging from the idea of “loving” the beauty of a sunset to a sexual attraction to the maternal kind of love I was talking about just moments ago. And in looking around, I see that the world doesn’t disappoint us…what I mean to say is that that word ”love” is indeed used in all those various ways AND MORE which leaves us all wondering about this word. It seems to hold such power, yet it’s used so generally so generically. It’s like it’s been emptied of its real meaning and instead it’s become a word that’s tossed to and fro, flippantly used throughout our culture.
No wonder we’re so confused when it comes to “love” and God. And yet, THIS is the love I want to spend time unpacking this morning.
In order to accomplish this, the very first thing we need to do is to find that volume controller, the one that allows all those voices from the outside world to shout their definitions of love at us… and let’s just shut it off!
And in its place let’s hear again, what God has to say about “love” because, I believe, that if we can get this…then everything changes!!!
So I begin with God’s words found in Jeremiah 31:3 which say, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” You see, to God, “love” is a loyal, steadfast, covenant kind of love. His love isn’t the fickle, floundering one we find in the world. No! God loves is intentional and purposeful. It’s committed and unending. You see in 1st Corinthians 2 beginning with verse 7 we are told that before time began, because of God’s great love for us, He put into motion a plan that began with the creation of this world in order to create man, in his very own image, and out of his desire for us to freely love Him in return we have been given the ability of free choice, the ability to decide for ourselves…which is exactly what we did as we disobeyed the one prohibition that day in the Garden, and yet, because of God’s steadfast love, He began to draw a people to Himself through which one day One would come who would be the salvation for all mankind!
And so, God, out of this loyal and steadfast love, drew this people, and though they were easily distracted and quick to turn aside, He persisted, continuing to pursue them. And at the perfect moment in history He brought forth Jesus who loyally and steadfastly loved those God gave Him. You see, Jesus was God’s plan from the very beginning. He was the fulfillment of God’s inexpressible love for mankind. He lived a perfect life (one without sin) and then He gave Himself up for us so that we might have life in Him. 1 John 3:1 puts it this way, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” and 1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Jesus’ parable of the Father and the prodigal son is an amazing example of this kind of love. You see, there’s a son who is tired of living life under the rules of his father, what he really wants is for his father to keel over so that he could take his portion of the father’s inheritance and go and live life any way he’d please. And so, he approaches his dad, and lets him know, “Hey Dad, if I had it my way, you’d already be out of the picture and I’d be living life ‘high on the hog.’ I don’t really want to be here, so let’s just cut to the chase. Will you give me my portion of your inheritance NOW so that I can take off and do life my way?”