“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way. There’s power in love.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Feeling loved makes life better. Most of us want to be loved for who we are, not simply for what we can do. Love requires risk and it’s often hard, particularly when you are trying to love someone who doesn’t like you.
Throughout all of time there have been competing images of God ranging from a hateful, vengeful really bothered old man to a loving, caring, merciful father and everything in between. So let’s take a look at our relationship with God based on what his written word says about it.
- This love relationship is a two-way street. In John’s first letter he says, “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” He then continues a few sentences later with, “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:7,8,12 & 16) The back and forth is evidence of God’s love for us because we show that same love for others. Perhaps the most significant statement is that God’s love is brought to its full expression in us. Wow!
The great command is the embodiment of these verses: love God, love one another, love yourself – why? Because God first loved you (1 John 4:19)
2. God looks just like Jesus. Two significant parts of Christ’s mission on earth were to show us how to live and reveal what God is like. Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” The New International Version uses the term “exact representation” to explain how Jesus the Son shows us God the Father.
There are some things in the Bible that are hard to understand. There are confusing events. There are teachings that are nigh-on-to-impossible to rectify to one another. But here is what is always true; the unchanging God is revealed in Jesus so everything has to pass the “Jesus” test. Does it look like Jesus? Would Jesus do it? Does it contradict Jesus? Knowing that our thoughts, actions, plans, etc must look like Jesus makes it simpler – not easier, just simpler.
If you want to know God better, get to know Jesus. If you want to live a life that pleases God, live like Jesus.
“If the mystery of God is a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, the picture on the front of the box is the face of Jesus!”
Brian Zahnd – Sinners In The Hands Of A Loving God