Is it possible to fully understand the immensity of God’s love?
The Bible tells us repeatedly that God loves us and has given us plenty of evidence to back up his words. He created us. He created a marvelous world in which we are called to create. He provides for us. And he forgives us, even though we are rebellious. He even went so far as to send his Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for us while we were still sinners. God did it all because he loves us.
The Apostle Paul prayed that believers would comprehend the incomprehensible dimensions of the love of Christ, and that we would know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge.
It is a remarkably bold prayer:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19, emphasis mine)
We Need Strength
Paul prayed for us to have strength to comprehend the love of Christ. That strikes me as unusual.
If I were to pray for someone to better know my love, I would ask for their eyes to be opened, or for a hidden depth of feeling to become realized, or for wisdom to be gained—but it wouldn’t occur to me to pray for strength to understand love.
The love of God must be in a different category from human love if we need strength to begin to understand it.
To stand strong for one’s faith in Jesus Christ and push back against a culture that, in the words of Isaiah 5:20, ‘call[s] evil good and good evil’ is to be ‘divisive,’ ‘unloving,’ ‘bigoted,’ and ‘intolerant.’ This is because evangelicals have confused Christ’s command to love others with being likable, as if that were an attribute of God. (It isn’t.) As such, they endeavor to be, above all else, inoffensive and polite. This doctrinal malpractice has given us a generation of men who are what [C.S.] Lewis called ‘men without chests’.
“I believe He wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them.”
– Francis Chan
A GENEROUS LOVE
Years ago, I remember hearing a pastor saying, “Never resist a generous impulse.” On one occasion he was standing behind a single mother of 3 and she was in tears while searching for enough change to pay her grocery bill, so the pastor had a generous impulse. He handed the cashier a twenty dollar bill, and the woman looked at him and said, “Thank you” while tears were streaming down her face. God wants us to love others in such an extreme way that we make a difference in the world.
A RADICAL LOVE
What does a radical love look like? How about this; Christ died for the weak and ungodly (us) (Rom 5:6), Christ died for the unrighteous (us) (Rom 5:7), Christ died for sinners (us) Rom 5:8), and Christ died for the enemies of God (us) (Rom 5:10), so helping others should not depend on their goodness, but upon the goodness of God.
Read the rest: https://www.christianquotes.info/images/3-extreme-ways-to-help-others/#axzz4ZvJ8eszN
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
– Matthew 22:37
WITH OUR HEART
Jesus tells us the first and greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37), and says, “This is the great and first commandment” (Matt 22:38), but we must realize that none of us do this completely. We fall very far short of His glorious standard (Rom 3:23), but our love is demonstrated by our obedience to God as Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15), so loving God means obeying God, because love is action-oriented and not just words.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”1
It’s rather depressing how the news media thrives on presenting negative news because that’s what sells—or at least that’s what we’re led to believe. But as Michael Josephson suggested in an issue of Character Counts, “let’s stop thinking about the handful of ex-college coaches who were fired for dishonorable conduct and the one sportsman who belittled his profession and destroyed his own good name (and possibly his promising career) through illicit sexual behavior—and remind ourselves of the noble side of sports.
The same apostle who said, “Let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18), also recorded Jesus saying, “These things I speak . . . that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13), and, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).
If the “speaking” of Jesus imparts joy, and the “words” of Jesus give spiritual life, then surely such speaking is love.
It has always troubled me that 1 John 3:18 could be taken to imply that what we do with our mouths is a less real or less frequent form of love than what we do with our hands. “Little children, let us not love in word or tongue but in deed and in truth.” It seems to me that we have practical and biblical reasons for saying that the muscle of the tongue is more frequently the instrument of true love than any other muscle of the body.
So let’s step back and see what John is saying in 1 John 3:18 and what the wider witness of Scripture is. Notice the context, the structure of his words, and what other witnesses say.