LOVE FOR THE FATHER, 24.04.20
There is so much focus on the Father’s love for us. When do we focus on our love for Him?
In our prayer time, we need to ask for Him to change our hearts to enable us to love as HE loves, so we can love HIM as we ought, love our neighbour as ourselves, love the unlovable, love our enemies . . . .
I find it uncanny that the Scriptures are rich with teachings about how to love; yet our focus seems always on the receiving end. God’s love is a given. It is there for the taking. However, upon receiving His love, there is an expectation of reciprocation.
We are to respond by:
(a) loving Him: (1) “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (Deut.6:5); (2) “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
(b) Secondly, we are to respond by: (1) loving others: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev.19:18; Mk.12:31). (2) Not only are we to love our neighbours, but also to show love to one another, as brothers and sisters in Christ: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . . this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:11,21).
God experiences the love of His children/followers through their obedience; by our abiding in His Word, inclining our hearts towards Him. Scripture is full of great prayer models; and God’s people would do well to learn to pray God’s Word, rather than relying on carnal mind-sets. In one of Solomon’s intercessory prayers, he asks the Lord to “incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep His laws, His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers . . . .” (1 Kings 8:58). This is a way of communicating our love for Him. It indicates that there is a true heart’s desire to follow His Ways, to be obedient. He goes on to pray that: “Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other. And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today” (1 Kings 8:60,61). These are great examples of what we can incorporate into our prayers to express our love for our Great God.
Jesus/Yeshua incorporates Solomon’s prayers when He says: “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21). Not only does he reaffirm the commandment, but He establishes the reciprocal dimension, which includes the fruit/blessings that will result – i.e., in response to our obedience, we then experience His amazing Presence. He goes on to say: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him” (John 14:23). Not only will we experience His amazing Presence, but He will be present permanently. A clear distinction between those who love/do not love Him is made in Jesus/Yeshua’s next statement: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words . . .” (John 14:24). All we need do is be attentive to every Word He has given us (and continues to give us), and we will be blessed with revelations of Who He is, manifestations of His presence. Not only will He manifest His Presence to us, but He will dwell within us. How awesome is that?! And all we have to do to show our love is to keep His commandments, keep His Words . . . . spend time with Him . . .. . .
There are spiritual/supernatural tools and strategies for attaining to that ability to love Him, all of which are provided in God’s Word. “Circumcise yourselves . . . remove the foreskins of your heart” (Jer.4:4, TLV); “surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord” (NLT). In other words, as Paul would say: put your flesh to death; “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer” (Deut.10:16); “the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut.30:6). We can see in these passages, the Old Testament equivalent of putting self to death. The principles, from Old Covenant > New, do NOT change.
Paul instructs us to “put to death what is earthly in you—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed—for that is idolatry” (Col.3:5). These things get in the way of our love for Him, for “to whatever you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to what you obey” (Rom.6:16). If you hold anything before Him as your idol, you do not truly love Him, with ALL your heart/soul/mind/strength. You have a divided loyalty. A study of chapter six (Romans) provides a complete lesson on the potentiality of death to sinful flesh, and we would do well to incorporate that understanding into our daily lives. Basically, Paul is saying that by Jesus/Yeshua’s death/resurrection, whoever believes, incorporates, and lives out that reality can claim that “our old man was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be done away with, so we no longer serve sin. For he who has died is set free from sin” (Rom.6:6). As we put to death the old man/self, the circumcision of self/of the foreskin of our hearts, our hearts experience freedom from our carnal minds, with all self-focus, enabling us to focus on Him, and actually love Him. Self-love is carnal love, and interferes with the ability to love Him, or anyone else as we ought.
From John’s teaching, we understand how important it is to love one another, and how intricately interwoven this is with our love from, and for the Father: “whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is truly made perfect” (1 John 2:5); “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . . If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us” (1 John 4:12); “the one who loves God should also love his brother” (1 John 4:21). This Godly, Christlike love, is all bound up in His commandment to love HIM, as well as His assurances of His love for us. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
It is time to grow up. It is time to love as He loves. Infants must be nurtured; must receive love in order to develop properly, and become adults who can give, and love others as they were loved. We must grow beyond infancy and be able to love our Father as He loves us, becoming mature spiritually, thus able to transcend our own selfish needs and transfuse to others, that love which we’ve been given. God’s love/Christ’s life/love was sacrificial, not self-serving; reciprocation calls forth our sacrifice of self unto HIM. He desires ALL of each of HIS, not superficial little snippets.
1 Kings 8:58,60,61
1 John 2:5
1 John 4:11,12,19,21
© 2018, revised 2019, 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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