We hear it in songs ALL the time…
“…You should go and love yourself.” – Bieber
“We built this Love from the ground up…” – Dan & Shay
We see it in movies – there is really no point in naming movies because the harder task would be naming movies WITHOUT some sort of love story!
L-O-V-E (or as my boyfriend said the night he first told me he loved me – while he was slightly inebriated – “it starts with an L, then there is an O, V, and it ends with E…”)
We live in a society where we have love for so many irrational things. You can go out and find a dog spa, a cat cafe where you can love on cats, etc. I read a story about a man who chased his dog down a freeway – with cars zipping by and the whole 9! Lets be honest, should our love for our pets be enough where we would sacrifice our life for them? This irrational, extravagant love people have for their pets illustrates God’s love for us. God rains down his love on us even when we don’t return it – like those cats that just act like they own the place.
As a people, we long to be loved and to love, but we feel unlovable. The neediness we feel makes us hide from God, the one who loves us most. BUT, God is the best source – dare I say the ONLY source? – of the true love we are looking for. The human love we feel with our family members, significant others, etc. pales in comparison to the power of God’s love that is made to satisfy our souls and heal our hearts!
LOVE IS THE THEME OF LIFE
As I said earlier, its in every other song we hear, every movie we watch, every book you pick up. Love occupies most of our thoughts. It’s no coincidence that we are consumed with the idea of love. And guess what, the good news is God IS Love and he wants us to find our love in him.
Now you may wonder, if God wants us to love him, and he has power over us, why didn’t he just make it to where we must love him? Why didn’t he simply make it so that we didn’t have the option to disobey him? (all the way back to Adam and Eve) Love requires the ability to choose. If we don’t have the option to choose to love or not to love, then can we really say we love at all? God didn’t want a planet full of robots who were programmed to love him automatically. Love had to have free will!
The opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness. Unfortunately, in the Garden of Eden, this free will landed Adam & Eve eating from the Tree of life. They chose sin. This caused there to be a division between us and God. But fortunately, God is love – and God didn’t let that stop him from loving us! God is just, and sin had to be dealt with. So he solved the sin problem by sending his only son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the penalty for every sin that would ever be committed from here on out. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. So in a nut shell: Adam chose self and sin, and through his selfishness, evil entered the world. Jesus chose love over self and, through his love, the power of sin and evil was destroyed. Isn’t that beautiful!
The entire Bible is the story of God’s love for humanity.
I’ll give you a few examples.
- John was one of Jesus’ closest disciples – he was also known as the apostle of love because he was the one who best understood God’s love. “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
- In Hosea 1, we learn that God has a plan for Hosea to marry a prostitute. Hosea ends up marrying Gomer. Unfortunately, they don’t just end up living happily ever after. After having 3 kids, Hosea wakes up to Gomer being gone. She had abandoned her family and went back to prostitution. In Hosea 3:1 the Lord said “..Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Now, the Israelites define love this way: you can buy it, it’s about being satisfied personally, and it’s about possessions and things. Sound like America today right?) So, what did Hosea do? He went and bought back Gomer for 15 shekels of silver. But the difference between Hosea buying Gomer and the other men buying Gomer – Hosea is not buying her to use her, he’s buying her to heal her.
That story is not just about Hosea and Gomer, it’s about God saving us. We are Gomer and He is Hosea. He is saying that no matter how far we have strayed, he will take the initiative to find us, heal us, and love us. Just like Gomer, we tend to turn our back on God and insist on going our own way. And yet 2000 years ago, God paid the biggest price to redeem us from sin – just like how Hosea paid to get Gomer back. God said,”How much? Okay, I’ll send my only Son, Jesus.”
So when you’re in the car and you hear that next new song about love. Or when you’re catching that newest Nicholas Sparks Chick Flick at the movie theater (or reading his new book). Remember that God’s love is so much more extravagant and powerful then anything that we see or hear in the media. And He loves us no matter how far off the path we stray!