February is often called the “Love” month. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we see how marketers get to work trying to coerce us into spending exorbitant amounts of money on chocolates and flowers. Now don’t get me wrong, it is great to show our love and appreciation to those closest to us, but when the price of roses goes from $15 a dozen to $75 a dozen during this time… their motivation isn’t love…
Another reason I’m not a big fan of the day because for many who are single, it is a reminder of just that. This day, a reminder of the sacrifice of a long since departed saint, has become more of a commercial opportunity rather than a memorial of a man’s stand on marriage.
Regardless, love is an important part of our lives and relationships. That being said, I was thinking about the whole idea of loving. What does it mean? We talk about “falling in love” and “love at first sight.” I know about “falling into a hole” but is that the same?
So as we begin this month, I want to start with a few thoughts about love and the most important loving relationship we can have. It is a relationship that is foundational for every other relationship we can have. Of course I am speaking of our relationship with God.
The Bible tells us that He is love and He is the Source of love. So I just want to share a few thoughts which I believe are keys to loving God and how can we cultivate a growing intimacy with Him.
In this relationship, it begins with God. John 3:16 says, “For God so LOVED the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” We see from this, God set the standard for love. It is about sacrifice. It is about the restoration and the reconciling of relationships.
So what does it mean for us to enjoy God and to have a relationship with Him? Henry Scougal said in his book, The Life of God in the Soul of Men, “the worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” We are most satisfied when we seek God’s pleasure above our own and we gradually become conformed to what we must love and admire.
Now our world sends us mixed messages as to what is love and our purpose in this world. Most messages talk about living for ourselves and acquiring the most. But what does God’s Word tell us?
1 Corinthians 8:6 says this, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father,from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” According to Paul, our purpose for our lives is to live for God. And the way we do this is through Jesus Christ.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Philippians 3:10. Paul writes, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection…” Like 1 Corinthians, this verse gives us purpose and the means. To know Christ (God) through His “power.” And when we do that we fulfil the prayer of Jesus in John 17. There we read it was His desire for us to live in unity and declare God’s glory.
To be in love with God means we revel in the attributes of God and aspire to lay hold of God’s aspiration for us. It is our preparation to spending eternity with the triune God.
Scripture teaches us that we steadily become conformed to what we most love and admire. In Hosea Hosea 9:10 we read this, “But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.”
When we turn from the love of idols and the things of this world to the beauty of Christ, we discover the liberty that comes from His Spirit. We become like our focus. For those who are married, think about how much you have “become” like your spouse in the time you have spent together.
As we spend time with God, we too become transformed more into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
The fact is we will begin to resemble what we worship. If our hearts desire is focused or fixed on something of this world, we will be guilty of idolatry and our souls will be corrupted.
You’ve probably seen this in many people’s lives all the time. People who are focused on money spend their time and energy thinking about it and trying to acquire more of it. For others, if education is their focus, every spare moment is dedicated to studying and working on assignments. Your focus is your idol!
But if we draw our life from the loving communion of a caring, radiant, majestic and unfathomable Being who formed us for Himself, I believe our souls will become more noble as we conform to His image.
Jesus calls us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.” To do so means we need to spend time in worship, in prayer and in His Word.” As we do so our lives will be transformed into His image and likeness and will lead to lives which are lived glorifying and honouring Him.
As we spend time getting to know God, I believe it motivates us to become more and more like Him. Our desire should be to emulate Him in attitude and practice – loving others in sacrificial ways. May God grant us the ability through His love and power to love Him more and model that love to our communities and world.