Saturday, December 9, 2017

Advent 2017 #9: God's Love Language


I've struggled to write this morning. Interesting things have happened this week, but none relate particularly well to the topics of love or advent. I don't have a story to share, and I wish I did. 

Although not a very spiritual method for finding a topic, I finally Googled "verse and this is love." When I saw the results, I laughed. It must've been the Apostle John's favorite phrase.

1 John 3:16 - "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters." niv

1 John 4:10 - "This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." niv

1 John 5:3 - "In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome," niv

The best demonstration of love ever given was when Jesus laid down His life to pay our sin debt. We're to recognize and measure all other love by the standard of self-sacrifice. 

If we love someone, we're willing to deny our desires for theirs, our needs for theirs. We're willing to lay down our lives for them.

If we love God, John wrote, we'll obey Him. We're not talking Mosaiac law or Pharisaical nit-picking. The Royal Law of Our King (according to James) is fairly simple to understand. 

Love God. 
Love others. 
Give it all you've got.

The Virgin Mary loved God with a give-it-all-you've-got love. When the angel appeared and said, "You're going to have God's son," she knew she was in for a tough time. She was a virgin, engaged to man with whom she'd never been intimate. Mary knew what people would think and how they'd whisper. She knew those whispers would follow her all her life. 

Despite all she faced, she rejoiced at the chance to serve her God and Savior and took delight in the promise of blessing to come. Mary counted herself blessed, even before her pregnancy began.

 It wasn't an easy life, but she surely felt the pleasure and smile of God. Imagine having Jesus for a son. Growing up years must have been wonderful. The crucifixion and tomb-time were terrible, but oh, the joy of Resurrection! 

I want to love God the way Mary loved. Wide-open. Completely abandoned to Him. Don't you?

This Christmas, let's take a closer look at the love of God. Have we allowed it to change our lives? Does it direct and inform the way we love? Do we demonstrate our love for God by simple obedience? If not, what does it say about our relationship to Him?

We don't love God by having the biggest tree, the most glittery decorations,  or the most expensive pile of gifts. We don't love God with the largest donation to a worthy cause. Those may be what we do, and they may speak volumes about our relationship with Him, but trees and stuff and money are not God's love language. 

His love language is sacrifice, faithfulness, justice, mercy.

If we love God, we sacrifice, just as He did. We obey, as Jesus did on the cross. This Christmas season, let's demonstrate the real love of Christmas to a lost and perishing world. Love as Christ loved. Keep our eye on the cross, even when all we see right now is the manger. 

2 John 1:6 - "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." niv 
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In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: #8: The Love that Saves Us from the Maggot Bed

Here are the links to the other posts in this series: #7: Finding the Safe Place in a Crazy World#6: The Preparation of God's Love, #5: When Joy Flowed Forth and Splashed Into My Heart , #4 The King Who Will Not Let Us Down., #3 Preparing for Transformation#2 Preparing for the King with an Humble Heart, and #1 Getting Ready for Jesus.

#advent