Note from Ryan…Jake is a great friend who has taught me so much about loving God in radical ways. Him and his wife Lindy are currently serving at a house of prayer in Pennsylvania. I suggest we seriously contemplate Jake’s message and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit give us strength to believe and receive God’s love. PS. The picture ins’t Jake
by Jake Paurus
“We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
Have you ever noticed how the way you view God affects how you relate with people? For example, if you view God as mostly disinterested or aloof with your life, you will probably be fending for yourself, primarily focused on your own interests. Conversely, if you rightly see Jesus’ death on the cross as God’s vast love for you, how can you not express love for others?
God’s desire is that there be a direct correlation between how we respond to Him in our relationships with others. An overflow, if you will.
Sadly, many people may be familiar with the story of the crucifixion but have never understood and experienced God’s deep love for them displayed at the cross.
“God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
We must ponder, marvel at, and meditate on the deep love of God; that he would send His son to die on our behalf. Many people misinterpret the heart of the Father and fail to perceive His intention to have a people who are confident in His love for them. This causes much confusion as to our purpose and identity. If we don’t have the revelation of God’s unfailing love for us at the core of our being, it’s likely that we will miss the purpose for what we do in our every day lives with the people we interact with. If we’re always worried that we’re constantly failing God, we will live our lives in fear and timidity.
That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to have a intimate knowledge of God’s love for us. It’s the only way we can have a clear understanding of purpose and identity. Jesus says that the greatest, highest, and noblest pursuit in life is to love God wholeheartedly. We do this in response to first being loved by Him.
“Jesus said to him, ‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38)
That being said, Jesus said the 2nd most important thing that we can do is love our neighbor.
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:39)
The connection, thread, and intention of God’s heart is that we would treat others the way God has treated us. Value others the way God values us. Forgive others the way God forgave us. Serve others the way God has served us. Accept others the way God has accepted us.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7)
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little”(Luke:47)
In our experimenting with God’s love in our communities and families, we must remember our first love. We can’t put this relationship on the backburner and expect to sustain a lifestyle of love. We grow in love by being loved. A good place to start is setting aside time each day to get alone with God. Throw in some fasting, meditation on the Word, and you’re well on your way to encountering the heart of God!