Please find a quiet place to focus on these scriptures for a few minutes, asking His Spirit to speak to your heart, and in Jesus’ name, ridding your heart and mind of distractions, burdens, guilt, worry, etc. 1 John 4:7-16 The Message (MSG)
God Is Love 7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. 11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! 13 This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. As I listened to God’s message sent through Mike this morning, I was happily prepared to hear all about love. I consider myself a very loving person, but I left worship feeling very convicted. Mike (very lovingly ) pointed out that loving like Jesus is very different than the “love” that we hear about in current society. This “true” love begins with our identity in Christ, not the good feelings we get from the people around us, the things around us, whether we are happy in our jobs, or whether we are happy in our families. I grew up in a very clearly defined faith-based family, with clear rules about what Christian people do, and how they act. As an adult, I fell into the trap of (like Pastor John said last week) faith zombie-ism, making my way through life ticking off the to-do items on my list to be a good Jesus follower. The Spirit began working in me when I recognized that I wouldn’t feel comfortable inviting anyone to the church I attended. I worried that the people wouldn’t feel welcomed. God answered that unspoken prayer by leading our family to Point of Grace. But I have, oh, so much more “love-learning” to do! God-willing, I will slowly break the attitude of “doing”, and changing to “being” in relationship with a heavenly Father at the center of my life.
Father God, please send your Spirit to do away with the things in my life that aren’t true to your will for my life. Generate within me an attitude of openness, and readiness to hear Your guiding and prompting, and to show everyone around me Your true love, as a gift, not a duty. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.