I recently taught at a retreat…at the beach, no less! The theme was Embrace the Journey and my general session topics were based on embracing God’s attributes of love, forgiveness, holiness and faithfulness.
As I studied and prepared, the Lord truly blessed and taught me much. This will be part 1 of a four part series of posts dealing with these attributes.
Knowing God’s attributes is one thing, but embracing them is totally different. As we take a look at these four attributes of God, I want us to consider moving from head to heart by embracing of each one.
I spent a lot of years living a mediocre life of discipleship, not knowing how to grow, or even that I was even supposed to develop this daily, ongoing relationship with the creator and Savior of the world. Once I was mentored to spend time daily with Christ in His Word and in prayer, I began growing. I am still learning who He is today and I cannot get enough of Him, His Word and His love!
God’s love is completely different from our human love. It’s actually incomprehensible. No human mind can fully comprehend God or define Him. If God is incomprehensible, then so is His love. While we may, and must, speak truthfully about his love, we can never fully fathom it, because it is divine love, as different from our love as His divinity is different from our humanity.
At the same time God’s love can be known. We cannot fully understand Him, but we can, nonetheless describe him and His love truthfully because he has made himself known to us in his Word and reveals who He is through the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at the biblical evidence of His love (this is just a few passages on this topic!):
- Psalm 94:18-19: If I say, “My foot is slipping,” your faithful love will support me, Lord. When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.
- Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with His love. He will delight in you with singing.
- Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 5:8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
- 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
- 1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.
So why are we sometimes not able to “feel” His love? Feelings are important but they are not always dependable. When we do not FEEL it, we need to go to the Word and remind ourselves of how obvious His love is for us.
I love Lauren Daigle’s song You Say especially the line that says, “You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing.” Listen to Him rather than feelings when you doubt His love.
To get to know His love better, there must be an effort on our part to spend time with Him so we get to know Him, and discover how much He truly loves us. How deeply do you love a stranger? A new in-law? What do you need to be able to love someone? It takes time to develop a love relationship with others. And it’s true in our relationship with Christ. The more we love Him, the more we want to know Him.
So we start understanding His love as we develop a daily walk that includes getting into the Word, discovering Truth from the Bible rather than just from other people, books, social media, or Google. And we have to dig for ourselves. Check out my post about a hungry heron here and here.
Dig for yourself, and don’t just rely on other Bible teachers and what they’ve discovered.
We see how David understood the hunger we must have for God and His love in Psalm 63:1… God you are my god, Eagerly I seek you. I thirst for you. My body faints for you in a land that dry, desolate and without water.
7 Take Aways to begin to understand His love (and other His other attributes):
- Start small if you aren’t in the habit of reading Scripture. Start with just a few verses a day.
- Ask God to speak as you read.
- Write down what He says.
- Obey what it says. Perhaps you could get an accountability partner to read along with you and discuss what you are learning.
- Get in a discipleship group to be challenged to grow deeper.
- Pray for the desire to read His Word and spend time with Him daily.
- Embrace His love and then love others well.
The thing is, when we fully understand His love for us, then we can love others with His love. Jesus says in John 13:34-35, So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
HIS LOVE NEVER CHANGES!!! God couldn’t possibly love you any more than He does right now. You cannot do anything to make Him love you less, nor anything to make Him love you more. His view of you doesn’t change no matter what. You are secure in His love.
I love this quote by Sarah Kay: “There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” It reminds me that no matter what I do or don’t do, Jesus will always love me, even if I ignore Him. His love is as unending as the waves on the shore. We can’t stop them if we wanted to. When we understand this, we can love others, because He loves us.
Embrace that love, then share that love someone else.