I have been teaching through the book of 1 John recently. This is an epistle that I have taught from before, but this time though something has really jumped out. In my recent lessons the theme of “love” has jumped off the pages of the scriptures. I want to take just a moment and point out a portion of these teachings.
In chapter three John begins by talking about the love that God the Father has toward His children. The love that the Father has for His children is a strange kind of love. The love of God is different than the love we are used to. You and I are capable of loving those that love us, but have a hard time loving our enemy. Our love is a selfish love. We many times love so that we can be loved back. John will explain that the love of the Father is different. God loves us, even thought we don’t love Him. God’s love is not a selfish love as demonstrated by Christ giving His life.
The love of God is where everything begins. Without the love of God there would be no sun the sky, no beautiful flowers that bloom. Most importantly without the love of God there would have never been a plan of salvation. Salvation began in the heart of God. God’s love does not however stop with salvation. The love of God is manifest in the life of the child of God. The love of God is manifest even in His coming as we will see in verse two.
Love is one of the greatest motivating factors in the world. When a man and a woman love each other they are willing to do almost anything for the other person. Do you remember all those things that others thought was silly, but you did them anyway because you were “in love”? Your love for your children will cause you to do things you normally would not. I have two girls at home and have certainly played games that a man normally would not play because I love them. But the love of God is greater than both of these loves.
This amazing love should be a motivating factor in the life of a child of God. When we consider the love that God has demonstrated in the past, and consider the love He is currently showing to us, it should motivate us to live for Him.
God does not bully anyone into living for Him. Those that teach and preach an angry religion are not teaching and preaching the truth of the scriptures. Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments.” While it is true we should be willing to keep the commandments of Christ, it is not true that God is beating you over the head to do so. Let me share an illustration with you:
A bridegroom was very nervous about his upcoming wedding. One day he and his fiancée were discussing the wedding plans with the pastor. The man asked “May I see the vows for the service?” The pastor handed him the paper and he read them carefully.
“This will never do” the young man told the pastor. “There’s nothing written in there about her obeying me!”
His fiancée smiled, took his hand, and said, “Honey, the word obey doesn’t have to be written in a book. It’s already written in love in my heart.”
God has bestowed His amazing love into our lives and as a result we should desire to live for Him. Do you realize that when a lost person sins they are sinning against the law, but when a child of God sins they are sinning against love? The love of God in our hearts should cause us to live godly lives.
A group of teenagers were having a party. Someone suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time.
“I’d rather you took me home.” Jan said to her date, “My parents don’t approve of that place.”
“Are you afraid your father will hurt you?” one of the girls asked sarcastically.
“No” Jan replied, “I’m not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him.”
This is the way sinning works in our lives. We don’t live a godly life because we are afraid God will hurt us, but because we may hurt Him.
What motivates you? Do you find the Christian life burdensome and grievous? If so then maybe you need to fall in love with Jesus Christ.