Between a movie, Sunday’s message, and another book I resurrected from under my end table, over the past week, the idea of having to choose to receive God’s love has filled my thoughts and caused me to consider again the question: Do You Really Believe God Loves You?
As a believer for over 33 years, it is often easy to quote John 3:16 and say God loves you. But to reflect upon the attribute of God that He IS love and that He loves me is often times pushed to the side, hidden behind the lie that I still have to earn some part of His love for me. This, of course, is NOT biblical!! God is I AM and He IS Love. There is nothing that I can or can’t do that will change His love for me. So if that is the truth, and I want to be more conformed to the image of my Savior, Jesus Christ, how am I to show this? The answer is found in the great commandment as stated in Mark 12:28-31:
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, ‘Which command is the most important of all?’
‘This is the most important,’ Jesus answered.
Listen Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.’
Okay, Love God and Love Others. Seems simple enough. However, it cannot be carried out if you do not first RECEIVE the Love of God. Stormie Omartian in her book Choose Love: The 3 Simple Choices That Will Alter the Course of Your Life states:
“…we cannot possibly love others the way He does without His love flowing through us and enabling us. That means we must not only have an ever-deepening understanding of God’s love for us, but we must also choose to receive the love God has for us in all its fullness.
Our first choice is to not only understand God’s love for us, but to actually open up and receive it. Yes, receiving God’s love is a choice. We can read about it, talk about it, and think about it, but it’s not the same as choosing to receive it. Choosing to receive God’s love means getting close to Him, spending time in His presence, opening your heart to Him, seeking to know Him, understanding who He is, and desiring to become more like Him.
Every day you choose to receive God’s love, express your love to Him, and love others the way He wants you to, you will know He is working in you a pathway to becoming more like Him.”
Theses are profound statements for believers. Yes, we initially receive God’s love at salvation but it does not stop there. The grace that was given at the time is still the same grace given to us each day through the love of God. It is a choice, and even a prayer to ask God to help us understand the “length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Ephesians 3:18).
Our daughter attended Camp Blessing two years ago and came back changed. She was joined by our eldest son last year and they both came back changed. This year three of the four of our children will be attending Camp Blessing next week. They will come back changed. Why? Because it is at this camp, the children day after day receive God’s love, witness God’s love, and show God’s love.
The camp is attended by children with disabilities. They are served and ministered to by students as well as adults the week they are there. It is a huge opportunity for ministry to the family of the camper, but there is a huge ministry to the students who give up their week to serve. Our children are changed each time they attend because when you spend a whole week emptying yourself, surrendering your life day after day, hour after hour for someone else, you are changed. And is this not the same picture Christ demonstrated for us while on this earth?
Each year our children return from camp with an overwhelming disbelief almost that all those children with disabilities can love so much. How is it that the campers can love on the students who are serving them and yet they really don’t seem to have any reason to be able to love that way. They each have some kind of disability that the world looks at and tells them they are different. Yet, these children look right back at the world and say “I love you anyway.” Isn’t that what God is telling us? No matter what you’ve done, what you didn’t do that you should have done, what you need or shouldn’t do in the future, God looks at you and says, “I love you anyway.”
So if God loves us and there is nothing we can do to change that truth, how do we live? I think it has already been demonstrated by our Savior. He lived His life daily receiving love from His Father. He daily took that love, studied it, sought to understand deeper what it was and gave it back to the Father. Then He daily took that same love and showed it to others.
This is what the students and counselors get to taste and see this next week. Please take some time to pray for those who will be attending not only from our church this week but for all those who will be serving the duration of the summer. Also, prayerfully consider choosing to live like you are loved today.
Worship Song: Live Like Your Loved
Post/Tweet this today: If we can’t change God’s love, the only thing we can do is receive it, study it, and show it. #receivegodslove #studygodslove #showgodslove #faithstepsjourney