“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)
John 3:16 is the very common scripture that sums up why Christ did what he did on the cross. It tells why Christ gave his life: LOVE. From the beginning of time, God knew how sinful we would be and still loved us enough to want a relationship with us. Let’s sit with that for a minute…
The perfect God of the universe, holy and righteous, wants to be with you. Christ experienced abuse unknown to humankind to create a path from us to the Most High God. His sacrifice was not based upon how we felt about him, whether we acknowledged him, or whether we followed his ways. His love was given despite us. He knew that we would never measure up to his requirements, yet he loves us anyway and allows us to truly experience that love.
Consider the way God loves:
Lavishly (1 Timothy 1:14)
He gives love generously; without hesitation.
Outright (Romans 5:8)
No strings attached. He loves when we are at our best and our worst. Often, our behavior should make him change his mind, yet, he pulls us closer and loves us more!
Value shown (Luke 12:6-7)
Our God is relentless. Though we don’t deserve his love and cannot earn it, God does not skimp on his love. He shows we are precious to him and worth saving.
Evidence is given (1 John 3:16-18)
God shows his love most when we fall short. He seeks after us, continues to provide for us, never gives up on us.
God is the example of “walking in love”. His patience and grace are what we are called to extend to others. People don’t do what we want. Their choices may cause us hurt, but our love for them should be unending. We don’t have to agree with their life choices; however, we are called to walk in love, correct in love, model love, and give love. It is a sacrifice, but none greater than Christ giving his life for us.
Reflection/Meditation: Consider the above-stated ways God shows L.O.V.E and review the corresponding scriptures. How has God shown L.O.V.E to you?
Challenge/Exercise: What actions of others have caused you hurt? Write the person’s name and the offense. Below that list, write down the ways you have offended God. Take the offenses of others AND your offenses before the Lord. Pray for a heart to forgive as you have been forgiven. Pray for tangible ways to show love to at least one person on your list. Consider how you can love them lavishly, outright, by showing value, and with evidence. Ask God to fix your heart to do so sincerely.
Prayer: Father, I can only love because you first loved me. Show me how to love through hurt, anger, and disappointment. Remind me of Christ’s sacrifice of love for me. Help me to do no less for one who needs my love and forgiveness. Amen!