Someone once wrote, “God’s love for us is like the ocean, we can see only the surface, but we cannot perceive it’s great depth.”
“Love”…. is a word carelessly tossed about today in many movies, books, and the internet. Sadly, it’s real identity continues to be obscured. In many ways, it’s been trashed by so many attempts to use it describe just about anything a company can possibly market. However, in Christ, we see God radically redefining love to be “cross-shaped” rather than our cultural “heart-shaped” images.
To be sure, we learn that it is only in Christ where “love” losses it’s confusing cultural baggage but gains a cosmic, pristine beauty which takes everything we think we know about love to new, dizzying, heights of heavenly glory reserved only for those who deeply long to experience love “on a whole, new level.” Growing in Christ means growing in the love of God. (I Corinthians 13), the famous love chapter, strips the common misnomers away from our minds the more we seek after God and reorient our lives to His will, as followers of Christ today.
How wonderful is this love that brings healing instead of the typical hurt from shattered relationships that leave us broken! From the hopelessly saccharin overtones of the secular world’s attempt to personify love, God turns all that on it’s head, and shows us that it isn’t saccharin, but sacrifice that underlines the greatest love a human being can ever know. As God opens our eyes to His holy love, the way we see everything and everybody in our world suddenly deepens, enriches and adds a dimension of color we never knew existed before. We become warmly “embraced” by His magnificent love which transcends all rational explanation, confounding the critics, but cherished as a priceless treasure to those fortunate, blessed ones who simply cannot dispute it’s reality because they experience it everyday.
Yet, a supernatural miracle begins to take place, once God brings us to the cross of Christ; His love “informs” our very being and we slowly begin to see our love for Him and others “transformed” by His indwelling Holy Spirit. Interestingly, as we continue to seek God, through His Word and resolve to do His will in our lives, we become increasingly “conformed” God’s cross-shaped sacrificial, unconditional love. It is there that the unbelieving cynical, postmodern world, which seeks to dismiss God as incredibly irrelevant, begins to sit up and take notice at God’s kindness, mercy and compassion flowing out of us to others for no other reason except God’s own glory. Clueless and confused as most are, it never ceases to grab their attention if for no other reason than it’s highly observable contrast to everything else which seeks to call itself “love.”
Is there anything more needed in a world today with a bone-chilling lack of respect for others? In a world where people are pre-judged by Twitter tweets and social media, often cruelly, could anything be more important than the understanding and spread of real love for others? In a world more concerned with dramatic showboating of one’s cause, whether it be feminism, racism or political ploys, than with demonstrating a selfless concern for others who differ in their views, will we ever know what love is, much less be able to experience it?
Good questions for a world and a nation, like America, at this hour in history when violence, mass-shootings and continued sexual allegations dominate our headlines. I believe that we have proven to ourselves there is no hope for hope outside of the God of all hope; the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to clearly show us how our Creator God defines the one thing we humans think we have already; real love. Probably, the most visible picture of selfless love is seen in the undying devotion of a loving mother towards her child. Yet, as beautiful as that is, it desperately fails to encompass the absolute perfection and depth of God’s eternal love for us seen in and through the giving of the life of His only Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But, where can we start? At His cross. When we realize we have caused God more trouble and heartache than others have toward us, forgiveness, patience and peace will fill us with the same mercy God has shown toward us. It is only when we see “our sin” on “His Son” that Christianity unveils it’s true identity; not as a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus. This is what we need to grasp. This is who He wants us to become. This is Who He is; love, unconditional, unearned, undeserved and unusual in a world that feels it can do without it. This love heals our deepest hurts and saves us from ourselves. Best of all, He is extending that same love to you, right now, who have never known it or wish to know it for yourselves deeper than ever before.
Dive into His ocean of love today! But, don’t ever expect to find bottom. His love is eternally bottomless and immediately available. The Water is perfect.
“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” (I John 4:10)