I John 4:19 (AMP) We love, because He first loved us.
Twenty years. Two decades. Two people. Five children. One grandchild. A legacy of love formed by two individuals who despite overwhelming odds and staggering statistics decided to try. Not just with human effort but invited God on the journey to take broken people and create a beautiful life. God is good. He is faithful. He did just that. On Sunday afternoons, it is not unusual for my husband and I to take a ride about. To just get up with no real destination in mind. Often the truck is silent – no words really needed just enjoying spending time together. Yesterday the blessing of what God has created and given us touched my heart. Thankfulness rose up within me at the thought of twenty years of marriage. This year will make 20 years of wedding bliss. It’s crazy to think because honestly, like it is for most people, the pages fly off the calendar in the midst of a flurry of activity and in the challenge of survival. We invited God into our relationship early on and asked Him to help us and He did.
I John 4:15-16 (AMP) Whoever confesses and acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him.
Anyone who confesses acknowledges and owns that Jesus is the Son of God. There is more to this new life in Christ than an uttered acknowledgement. Faith owns that Jesus is the Son of God and provides access to the Father. Such a belief will result in certain changes in the way we think, act and live if it truly is what we believe. Shortly after meeting my future husband, I knew I was going to marry him. Don’t ask me how. I looked at him and whispered to a friend, “I am going to marry that man.” She quickly refuted my claim. Yet, in my heart, deep inside my heart where Jesus lived, I knew it was true. Jesus lived in me but I was not living for Him at the time yet still God’s Goodness pursued me even then. Have you invited Jesus to live in your heart today? It is vital and necessary to fully claiming God’s Love and His Goodness for you. Confession must be owned by the speaker. In other words, those words must be followed by action in order to be true and relevant. I pursued my husband. I shamelessly admit once I knew he was the one for me. I was relentless and he a willing captive. The confession of my love for him was based on a feeling. If it remained in such a simple state, our relationship would not have lasted this long.
God is love. We must live in love with God and let His Love live in us. This starts with the acceptance of Jesus Christ but doesn’t end there. It is a lifetime of growth and development. How do I know God loves me? The Word of God is clear. It is important to pursue His Love in His Word and seek out His Presence. Even in the days of darkness surrounding my life, Jesus still lived in me. I was ashamed of my sin. I was sorely convicted in my heart because my love affair with Jesus was real although faulty on my part at the time. God’s Love never left me. His Plan for me did not change. His Voice never silent whispering to me. Friend, if your relationship with the Father has run cold no worries – God is continually in you looking for a way out. He doesn’t leave or forsake those who have His Love as a personal experience. He knows you are trying so do not give up. His Love is for you. Always.
We must believe that God loves us. It is important to know that He does. To be fully conscious of His Love and also how He loves. His Love is perfect. It doesn’t change according to our behavior or preference. It is constant. Consistent. Passionate and unyielding. It’s the kind of love sought after in humans that can never be attained. Despite our best effort to love unselfishly, it is hard to overcome every fleshly urge and desire. Relationships require a whole lot of grace to achieve success. God’s Grace is sufficient for you to live in love with Him forever. You must know and become consciously aware of His Love in the moments that comprise the day. How can you stake forever on a one night stand? You don’t. God deserves our time and attention to demonstrate His Great and Unfailing Love for us. It is convincing. It is convicting. It will change our life forever.
May I interject a moment of marital advice? No relationship with a person will satisfy our soul like the Love of God through His Son – Jesus Christ. Marriages fall apart because the void within us is not to be filled by a human but the outpouring of perfect love from the Father. However, it is human nature to seek this love from others and put our expectation in imperfection when perfect love is available through a relationship with Jesus. When someone lets me down, I realize in that instant that I have misplaced my trust. We must learn to live in, rely on and become completely confident in the Love of God to have successful earthly relationships. My marriage, though wonder and completely satisfying, has not been easy. When two come together, it is touch to continue to walk together in the giving of ourselves…unless the two are following Jesus then they will find their way.
I John 4:18 (AMP) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
There is no fear in love (dread does not exist), but full grown (complete, perfect) love *turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” (Marvin Vincent – Word Studies) It is important not to take for granted the enormous love given to us by God through His Son – Jesus. We must completely capitalize on the knowledge and understanding of His Love that makes all things possible. Our emotional love for Him must become a consistent love for Him. This is accomplished by the conscious and abiding knowledge that no matter what God loves us. We cannot achieve this by seeking it in this world. You will never find it there. It is found personally pursuing His Presence. To give time and attention to knowing Him. Wooing His Spirit. Separating yourself from those things that drive Him away. To set your heart on seeking Him until you have found Him. We must grow in sufficient understanding of God’s Love to love others. To fully grasp the concept of His Love for us in order to effectively love another – any other.
I know my husband loves me. I am absolutely convinced of it. Not because of how I feel but because I have spent a good part of my life getting to know him, experiencing his love outside of a physical feeling or emotional overture. Too often our feelings for God go no further than confessions of faith with no validity and a personal relationship with Jesus that is merely namedropping. God is love. He loves you. He will live inside of you if invited. He will dwell in your home if allowed. He will change your life into the greatest love story ever written. His Love story is written in bright red letters inked by the Blood of His Precious Son. There is no greater or more fulfilling love that you will ever experience. But you must experience it for yourself.
Will you answer the invitation of the Lord today to come in a little closer? To acknowledge His Love with your presence? To answer His Call with your heart? He loves you. He isn’t mad you took so long to respond – all of Heaven celebrates when you do. Turn your heart and all its broken pieces over to Jesus – He will make a beautiful masterpiece from your mess. Let His Love fill your life today. We cannot love others rightly until we understand His Righteous Love completely.
Psalm 27:8 (NLT) My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”