These are some thoughts I shared lat night at twivotion on tinychat. Check it out on facebook at twivotions or on twitter @twivotionals
First of all – I want you to think of two people – one person you have a hard time loving because of all the hurt they have done to you. The other person is one you love tremendously, but they often don’t return that love.
As I was raised in conservative religion, I was taught – non-intentionally – that I must do what I can to be in line with the Scriptures. I must rely on my striving to be like Jesus. They didn’t mean to teach me that, but that’s what I learned nonetheless. And, because I learned that and learned it well, a dark cloud hung over my heart as I struggled daily to live in step with the Spirit.
Last week, I read “The Shack” – most of you have heard of it by now. Other than the bible there has been no book that has changed my life as this one. It helped me get rid of these misconceptions – the false religious narratives – that I had been holding on to for so long. I understood love in a different way, and that has changed everything. So, that being said, lets get into the Scripture.
1 John 4:7-21 – Read this first
Verse 7 – Love comes from God – I can’t fully understand this concept of love until I seek to understand how God loves. It is only when I see HIM for who HE is that I can understand love.
Verse 10 – God loves us so much He cannot bear the thought of us having to die – us having to be separated from His love, so HE chose to do something about it. As a parent would gladly die in the place of his or her child, so God died for you and me. That is total, unselfish, unconditional love.
Verse 11 – We cannot love until we allow God to love us. We must accept His love – then we will be compelled to love others. The bible uses words like obligation and ought and duty, but these are not human terms as we think of them. If I use those words – it’s all about me. When the bible uses these, what it is speaking of is this: If you live in God’s love – you won’t have any choice but to love (God and one another) – You will be compelled to do so. Love has a will of its own when it consumes you and it then gives you freedom.
Verse 12 and 15 – If we love one another and is we acknowledge Jesus as the SOn of God – God lives in us. To acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son is to love someone else. You would not tell anyone about God if you didn’t love them.
verse 16 – And so we know and rely on the love God has for us – this is life.
Verse 16b – God is love – sometime read 1 Corinthians 13 and where it uses the word “love” put in the word, “God” they are interchangeable. Only then will u understand just a touch of His love for us, and how he shows that love.
Verse 17 – love brings confidence. To be a slave is not confidence – but to be a son is. God is not a tyrant – He is a lover.
Verse 18 – Fear – this is one of my favorite verses in Scripture. Get those two names out. Why can’t you love the person treating you harshly? Why do you step lightly around the person you desire to love completely? Fear. What is fear? Selfishness. If I am thinking of myself, I am not loving you or God or anyone else but me. 1 Corinthians 13:15 – love is not self-seeking. God loves me self-less-ly – I need to learn that in my own life. When I stop being so concerned with self, I can be free to love completely – then it will not matter what they say or do – I will love them anyway. Fear goes away and freedom reigns in our hearts as Joy returns.
Verse 19 – God loved us first to give us an example of how we should return that love and share it with others. Jesus showed us that love physically.
Verse 20 – Do you hate? It’s time to learn of God’s love and let it consume you. It’s time to let go of those dark corners of your heart when you are hiding those things which hinder you as a Christ-follower and trust God. He has never let you down. You may have blames Him, but more than likely human’s sin or natural creation or simply someone else’s choice cause your hurt. It may or may not have been intentional, but God can take your hurt. He can change it. And He wants to.
Verse 21 – there are only two commands in Scripture. Love God with everything you have and everything you are. And Love your neighbor as yourself. The rest of the bible is commentary on how to do those two things, and when you finally accept the love of God in a real way, you will find yourself compelled to do those two. You will not be able to help it. Then Christianity becomes easy. Someone who said Christianity is hard doesn’t understand love with no fear – freeing love.
Well, that’s my word from the Lord. Hope it lifts you up. I’m praying for each of you that read this. God bless and let me know your thoughts.