Living in Light of God's Love

by Derek Gentle


The love of God for us is a doctrine of great comfort and practicality. It makes the difference in several ways:

The love of God provides a deep satisfaction.
Paul told us about the Christian hope - that certain expectation and joyful anticipation of that which is yet future for the Christian. We live in light of the future. Some might call this "pie in the sky bye and bye." They might wonder what there is to be had in the nasty here and now. Too little, too late. Kinda disappointing. Paul replies:

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5)
Notice that phrase, poured out. God has lavished His love on us. And in us. Those who are Christ's feel loved... and this love is far from disappointing; it is deeply satisfying.

Emotional protection in the midst of rejection
Ultimate acceptance is another benefit of experiencing the love of God. We live in a world of haves and have nots, of winners and losers, of insiders and outsiders. I have given thought lately to how in junior high school we all experienced rejection. Then, as we grow older, we become a little more patient with each other's weaknesses. But, though, as they grow older, people are less unkind, rejection continues to be a part of life.

Paul wrote that as Christians, we are "persecuted, but not forsaken" (2nd Corinthians 4:9)

The Bible tells us, "Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God" (Romans 14:7). Notice that last part: we have been received. We are accepted. Further, we are accepted by the One who has the most reason to reject us, the holy God whom we offended by our sins.

Louise was a loser, the ugliest girl in school.
Her short stringy hair made everyone stare,
Her hand-me-down clothes made her look a fool.
Louise was a loser, she stutter when she'd speak.
And when she came to play, we'd all run away,
and make fun of the wart on her cheek.
Louise was a loser, but Jesus wouldn't refuse her.
In fact, He gave His life to choose her for His own.
Louise was a loser and most of you would agree.
But to Jesus she's worth more than this earth
He sees her as lovely, lovely Louise.

Dove


People who have experienced the love of God have the capacity to enjoy a deep security.
We have a spiritual safety net, an emotional safe place. "When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me" (Psalms 27:10). Knowing that, we are more secure in our relationships with others. We don't have to have any of those relationships to remain fulfilled. We are not tempted to act desperately. The one relationship we absolutely have to have is the one we have with Christ and it is unbreakable.

People who experience the love of God have the freedom and motivation to give love.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1st John 4:11). God's love for us is a focus driving our service. "For the love of Christ compels us" (2nd Corinthians 5:14).

Ralph Neighbour told this story which illustrates how the love of Christ drives us to show love to others:

Jack had been president of a large corporation, and when he got cancer, they ruthlessly dumped him. He went through his insurance, used his life savings, and had practically nothing left. I visited him with one of my deacons, who said, "Jack, you speak so openly about the brief life you have left. I wonder if you've prepared for your life after death?" Jack stood up, livid with rage. "You -- ---- Christians. All you ever think about is what's going to happen to me after I die. If your God is so great, why doesn't he do something about the real problems of life?" He went on to tell us he was leaving his wife penniless and his daughter without money for college. Then he ordered us out.

Later my deacon insisted we go back. We did. "Jack, I know I offended you," he said. "I humbly apologize. But I want you to know I've been working since then. Your first problem is where your family will live after you die. A realtor in our church has agreed to sell your house and give your wife his commission. I guarantee you that, if you'll permit us, some other men and I will make the house payments until it's sold. Then, I've contacted the owner of an apartment house down the street. He's offered your wife a three bedroom apartment plus free utilities and an $850-a-month salary in return for her collecting rents and supervising plumbing and electrical repairs. The income from your house should pay for your daughter's college. I just wanted you to know your family will be cared for."

Jack cried like a baby. He died shortly thereafter, so wrapped in pain he never accepted Christ. But he experienced God's love even while rejecting him. And his widow, touched by the caring Christians, responded to the gospel message.

Death and the Caring Community
by Larry Richards and Paul Johnson