Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV)
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
I am challenged today by God’s Love. The thought that nothing can or ever will separate me from His Love (Romans 8:38-39) is challenging my heart, soul, mind and body (strength) as I consider my love for the One who loves me the most. His Love for me is unconditional. It is complete lacking no good thing. When I give up, His Love keeps going anyway. I know this but truthfully sometimes forget.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Encouraging a friend the other day, it occurred to me that if we fully accepted the challenge to love God completely loving others might not be so difficult. Loving myself may not be quite so tough either. God’s Love is wrapped in a grace that is so good and unconditional that it is incomprehensible to a creature such as man all consumed by sin and imperfection. We do not expect God’s Goodness or His Grace based on our very flawed condition. But that doesn’t change how God sees us or “feels” for us. His Love is not emotional or based on performance. It is. It has always been. It always will be. His Love suffers long even in our rebellion or religion. His Love is kind even when we are not. His Love for us is jealous but not envious in that God knows He love us the most and best. God’s Love is quiet and not pushy as He waits for us to come. He could exalt His Power and unleash His Justice but chooses our submission to enter into our lives. God is not rude but always comes when invited. He doesn’t seek His Own or would have wiped us all out a long, long time ago. He cannot be provoked so don’t worry there is nothing you or I will ever do to make Him stop loving us. He believes in us. He thinks the best of us. He knows the potential in us and that’s why God loves us so much. He does not rejoice in our difficulties or ever feel an “I-told-you-so” is necessary but wraps us tighter in His Love when we mess up. His Love for us bore every sin, believed we were worth His Love, hoped that we would accept and waits as long as it takes to see us through. God’s Love for us never ever fails or runs out or gives up on us. Never.
Too many times – people try to love with the Love of God but do not know or understand what that kind of love is. We have learn to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and body bringing it all into agreement to achieve the kind of love that transcends attitudes and actions to the level of commitment delineated in I Corinthians 13. If we skip ahead, we will be frustrated in this endeavor because it is the God in us that bears the potential to love like that. We need to love God to love others and ourselves. But it is a corporate mindset. We accept Jesus Christ into our heart. The Holy Spirit begins His Work in our soul. The hard part is changing our mind to agree with our heart and soul. If we win this battle and become confident in His Love, our body and strength will follow suit and faith wins the day in love.
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (NKJV)
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
We have been given the potential to have the Mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the One who is from God that will make known to us those things which our human mind cannot comprehend and will not willingly accept due to the contradictory nature. Jesus Christ advocates for us in Heaven with the Father for righteousness sake. (I John 2:1) He tells God the Father to look at our heart. The place the Jesus resides so that God only sees the Blood of His Only Son and not the sins of His People. The Holy Spirit teaches us the things we need to know about God’s Love. The Holy Spirit is the helper who challenges our human mindset to accept confident hope and live by faith rather than sight. (John 14:26) It is a constant lifelong battle to accept God’s Love over the way of this world. (Romans 7:21-25) Our flesh will always battle to the death. Jesus guards our heart. The Holy Spirit works in our soul. We must take control of our mind which is led by the flesh. How we feel, what we know, and the infiltration of worldly philosophies that challenge the Presence of God in our heart, soul and body must be severely dealt with. I have seen God heal my daughter miraculously of asthma in a moment. I have seen God heal our son of cancer not once but four separate times. These are the most evident to the world. But I could tell you of all the wonderful and miraculous things that He has done for us – yet I still struggle with my flesh every single day to believe in God’s Love more than any other force in my life.
Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The love challenge that we are faced with today is not to love ourselves or other people. Outside of the Love of God, it is clear that this becomes an impossible endeavor. The only shot that we have in fulfilling the Lord’s Two “Greatest” Commandments is to know and fully accept God’s Love for us heart, soul, mind and body. We must be our life into agreement with God’s Love. We must accept that there is nothing we can do or say to earn it. We will never be worthy of it and still learning to fully accept it in our great weakness and insufficiency. It is easier to love in a position of power because we have nothing to lose. But to love by surrender or submission having nothing to offer and everything to gain creates a vulnerability that requires greater faith than any other relationship that we have. We become more than conqueror’s when we accept the Love of God offered to us through Jesus Christ. The Power of His Love is our strength. It is that which changes our mind and our body will soon follow suit. We are challenged by faith to believe that even death cannot separate us or anything I have done wrong in my life. I must believe that even the enemy cannot snatch me from His Love with all his lies and delusions. I have to know that no matter what I did yesterday, I do today or I mess up and do tomorrow that God’s Love is constant no matter what. No height or depth – high or low – mountain or valley takes me out of His Arms or removes me from the Presence of His Unfailing Love for me. There is no created thing that can ever or will ever love me more than My God. Jesus secured that love for me and I just have to learn to accept it – all of it.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
The challenge to fully accept God’s Love is upon us. We cannot look to society to teach us or show us that kind of love. It is a day and age that if the world has its way, God will be erased from it completely. We are in the days of rampant sin and the love of many has grown cold. (Matthew 24:11-13) This is called the realm of hope because now we can no longer rely on what we see but on what we know about God. We must know God to understand His Love. Religion does not offer solace because it has been infiltrated too. The Holy Spirit is whispering to the heart of the church today one person at a time to come closer. Move deeper.
Knowing the Love of God does not change the fact that there will be trials and tribulation in our life. These pressures force us to evaluate what we believe about God’s Love and hopefully makes us more aware of just how much He loves and cares for us. It is up to us to decide whether we will empower our heart and soul or allow our mind to run things. We must be avid learners for the rest of our life to overcome the flesh constantly seeking to know the Love of God more and more. We will never reach its parameters. It takes effort just like any other relationship. It takes focus, drive and motivation. We will fight for every victory of faith beginning with the battle of our mind. God’s Love is the driving force behind every miracle we experience in life. He changes the outcomes in our life when given our trust. It is all about His Love. As we learn to accept it, we will be more effective in our sharing it with others. Take the love challenge today. God’s Love will never fail me. He is always watching out for me. He is always on my side. Fear means that I do not believe that. Anxiety means that I am losing hold of His Love on my end and need to get a grip. Decide that God’s Love for you is bigger than any problem or situation. Demand to know its vastness as this is our undeserved privilege thanks to Jesus! Do not give up. Do not give in. Do not let your guard down. Take that step of faith confident that God’s Love is holding you tight. Never let go of confident hope because His Love will never disappoint us!
2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.