Tag Archives: God is love

Who is the God you love?

Do you love God? Does celebrating his love serve as your purpose in life?

Our response determines every aspect of our life. If I don’t love God, then who is the focus of my devotion? If not, “In God we trust,” then who?

It seems the default answer is to trust in ourselves: our own abilities to think, philosophize, communicate with others, earn a living, make things with our hands, set goals and agendas, and become the captain of our own destiny. Is it possible to believe in God and trust in yourself?

We all trust to some degree in our good health, our intellect, the faithfulness and devotion of our friends and family. We trust in our leaders, our wealth, or the comfort and safety of our home. But who is the God we truly love and trust above all else? Who is the God of your daily schedule and life ambitions?

Maybe your view of God is formed by the God of the Bible. Over the years you’ve come to grasp an understanding that he is who he reveals himself to be in his Word, that he is who he says he is. You believe what he says, that he gave his only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for the forgiveness of our sins; that this same Jesus rose from the dead and gave his very Spirit to reside in the hearts and minds of his true followers. Ah, the name of Jesus; perhaps you’ve noticed how the mention of his name dramatically changes the conversation of God from one of intellectual belief to personal conviction.

But have you personally experienced his truth, grace, and power in your life? Have you discovered his transformational power to make you free from the bondage to sin, even while you remain ever so imperfect like me and everyone else around you? Have you experienced his power to find real peace in the middle of life’s difficult storms? When the world shakes around you, have you found him to be your unshakeable foundation, your solid rock? Have you found the secret of being content, realizing that your circumstances don’t define you? Do you know for sure that you are the beloved child of the King of Kings, and that his inheritance is yours for all eternity?

This is what the God of the Bible says:

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:35

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:7-9

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13

God is more than an idea, more than an emotional feeling. The God above all gods call you and me to a life of love. Believe in him and find peace. Experience his love.


Scary lies


Sometimes lies sound well-intentioned but have far-reaching and disastrous consequences. I think of the popularity of the “Ouija” board game that toys with consulting mediums, and the “Crazy Eight” magic ball and daily horoscopes that purportedly foretell future events. I reflect on the cute little witches and devils that masqueraded on Halloween. The lie we believed was, “It’s just make-believe. It doesn’t matter.”


But beyond the frightful joy we took in such childhood games, we continue to perpetuate truly scary lies as adults. We tell ourselves, “It doesn’t matter” when we are dishonest. We excuse our sins as less serious than others. Jesus revealed this lie when he compared lust to being the same as adultery, and anger the same as murder. The truth is, it does matter what we think in private and what we say to others. Our indifference toward other’s suffering, our obsession with our self-interests, our distractions from seeking God all have consequences as far-reaching as our commitment to purity, honesty, goodness, generosity, empathy and encouragement. The truth is that life matters.


Myron Rush commented in his leadership book Lord of the Marketplace that one of the most damaging is the lie that we have two lives: a moral one and a secular one. We live the moral life when we go to church and say a prayer and we live a separate secular life in every other activity we pursue. A well-known presidential candidate exalted this belief saying that he never let his personal faith influence his public actions. We generally regard such thinking as two-faced, insincere, and untrustworthy. Deep down, we all appreciate What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. We want to believe people who “walk the talk” and don’t live double lives. In our heart of hearts we know the truth: we have just one life to live and it reflects all we are. Our spiritual convictions do indeed impact our every day decisions and life goals. If not, they aren’t really convictions are they?


Another scary lie (if you accept God’s Word to be true) is that “I am a good person” and that “all good people go to heaven.” We like to think that even if we’re not “as good” as Mother Teresa, we’re “pretty good” compared to others. We say, “S/he was a good person” as a mantra at funerals when we don’t know what else to say. Scripture says “there is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:9) Our righteousness or goodness comes through faith in God’s Son, Jesus, not from trying to score enough good deeds in order to make the list. Some take the truth that God is good, ignoring that he is also holy and just. Accepting a part of the truth while rejecting the other, they conclude “a loving God would never punish his children.”


You might think that some lies are too inconsequential to matter or that lies that are told with intention to comfort are not so bad. But lies are truly scary if they lull us into a sense of false security. If we say, “It will all be okay” when in fact great danger is approaching, that isn’t real comfort, is it? If we say, “It doesn’t matter” when a series of small missteps ends up taking us down a dangerous and destructive path, we’re not being helpful, are we? If we could rely on our “goodness” to make us right with God, then Jesus went to the cross for nothing! And if we acknowledge only the goodness of God while rejecting his holiness and just nature, what god are we really worshipping?


Let’s be on guard against lies that seem to offer a sense of comfort and peace but really lead us in dangerous ways. They are the scariest of all lies.


God is love


God is love. 1 John 4:8


Love is not God’s only attribute. He is also holy, just, righteous, all-powerful, wise, and everlasting. But one attribute of God that speaks clearly to us over the ages of time is that our unchanging and timeless God is love.


Love is not just what God does; love is who God IS.


The best known verse in the bible begins, “For God so loved the world, He gave…” Love is inherently forgiving and for giving. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13) This is the picture of how God loves you and me.


Is God love in the middle of your deepest sorrows? Our darkest moments certainly test our faith. What comes out when life squeezes us reveals what is truly inside us. There is no room for pious religion when you are squeezed. In those moments God wants us to be real about our brokenness, our sorrow, and our disappointment. He also wants us to know this truth: None of this has any authority or power over His presence in us. Though my struggles again and again toss me to the ground like a ragamuffin doll, though I feel crushed under their weight, they are no match for Jesus in me who loves me, no matter how I feel.


How big is your God? How we view God does not change who He is, but it does change how we perceive our circumstances. Look at the heroes of God, how they are honest about their struggles with life and with God.


Rich Mullins was a short-lived Christian musician who gave us such inspiring songs like, “Sing Your Praise to The Lord,” “(Our God Is An)Awesome God,” and “Hold Me Jesus.” Yet he struggled greatly. I like how one writer described him: “A lover of God and a rebel in the church, Rich refused to let his struggles and his own darkness tear him away from a God he was determined to love.” (Or from a God determined to love him!) “Rich desired most of all to live a life of honest and reckless faith.”


The truth is God loves you, regardless of how you feel or what circumstances beset you. I hope when the darkness surrounds you that you will be able to sing, “Hold me Jesus – be my prince of peace.” Experience the light of His love as you say to God, “And still I will love you.”


“I would rather live on the verge of falling and let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God.”
– Rich Mullins