Perfect Love

loveSince today is Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but write about the subject of love. It is greatly misunderstood, I believe, especially in the truest sense, which is the biblical definition. Some common definitions of love are, “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend; sexual passion or desire; a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.” 

The Bible says that God is love. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 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. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:1-21)

From this passage we see that, according to God:

  1. Love comes from Him
  2. Love is Him
  3. Those who love have been born of Him
  4. Those who don’t love don’t know Him
  5. His love was shown and can be seen
  6. His love caused Him to act on our behalf to save us by sending His Son
  7. He loved us when we didn’t love Him
  8. His love for us should compel us to love others
  9. When we love others, we know He lives in us
  10. When we love others His love is made complete in us
  11. There is no fear in love
  12. His love drives out our fears
  13. He loved us first
  14. We love Him because of His love for us
  15. If we hate others, we cannot love God
  16. If we claim to love Him, we must love others

From just this passage, and there are others about love, we see a picture of love much different than those worldly definitions. There are many implications contained in these few truths, but I will leave you to ponder those. May we truly learn to receive His perfect love so that we can give it to those who are desperately looking for love according to this world’s standards. Then we can truly know that we know Him and have become like Him.

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Insights from Song of Solomon – God Enjoys Us in Our Weakness

Song of SolomonDark am I, yet lovely… Song of Solomon 1:5

Like the Shulamite maiden we are well aware of our darkness – our failures, sins, and shortcomings. So many believers live under a cloud of guilt, shame, and condemnation, believing God must be thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with them because of their inability to measure up. This mindset not only brings continual feelings of despair and defeat, but also causes us to look at others with a critical, judgmental eye. Whatever you look for you will find, and whatever you focus on grows bigger in your mind. Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but if we harbor self-bitterness or self-hatred, we will tend to treat others in the same way, causing a multitude of problems in our relationships.

We so easily make God in our image, projecting our frustration and anger toward ourselves onto Him; this is just one of many lies we often believe about Him. Yet the truth is, He loves and even enjoys us in our brokenness, immaturity, and weakness. The maiden acknowledges her brokenness but also testifies of her loveliness before God. This is not arrogance or presumption, but rather a correct understanding of the heart of God for His beloved bride.  Jesus clearly demonstrated the depth of His mercy, love, and compassion in His willingness to physically become like us, suffer beyond our ability to comprehend, and die in our stead. His heart is always full of tender compassion and love for us because He is love.

Through His death and resurrection we have received the gift of His righteousness so that when God looks at us, He sees us as perfect through His blood. He loves us in the same way He loves His Son, the One He spoke of in saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) He placed His Spirit within us, imparting a sincere heart that desires to fully obey Him. Our spirits are willing and longing to please Him in spite of the weakness of our flesh. He sees the end from the beginning so He is able to view us from an eternal perspective as His beloved bride who will walk in obedience to Him forever and ever.

When God calls us lovely, it is because of these things; He doesn’t look at the things we look at; He sees beyond the surface. Just as a parent loves and enjoys their child completely at every stage of their growth and development, He loves and enjoys us in ours. He knew what He was getting into when He chose us. He is not disillusioned with us, for He never had any illusions about us to begin with. He knows us completely and enjoys us as we grow and mature in and through Him. Ask Him to show you how He sees and feels about you!

Do you believe God enjoys you in your weakness? If not, why not? Comment below.