Have you ever been head-over-heals in love? How did you act? I have been watching a young couple in our church who just became engaged. It is quite heart-warming watching the way they think about each other all the time. Of course, they are together every moment possible. If they aren’t together, they are texting, tweeting, phoning, or communicating on Facebook, or on Skype. If they aren’t talking to one another, they are talking to others around them about each other. Have you ever loved someone so much you would be willing to lay down your life for them? Did you know that God loves us like that?
Jeremiah 31:3 …“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
1 John 4:9-10 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 2:4-9 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
John 15:12-14 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Have you ever seen an example of a couple that has a lop-sided love? Maybe the man is completely in love with the woman, but she has not fallen for him yet. He is lavishing her with his love in every way he knows how to do. But she is kind of just taking advantage of that and taking him for granted. Of course, you know where I’m going with this. Is there a possibility that we have learned of the awesome love of God for us, and received Jesus as our Savior as a result, but we have never really let it sink in as to just how much He loves us? (Many of us have been raised with a religious picture of God being this big mean thing up in the heavens. He was presented as a God Who was just waiting for us to mess-up and then He would punish us. But that is a misconception, doctrine of demons, tradition of man!) The God of the Bible is love! God is good and His mercies endure forever! He is all about patience, forgiveness, and reconciliation! When we get a realistic glimpse of God’s incredible love toward us, we can’t help but fall in love with Him!
1 John 4:7-16 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 … for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard (know) no one according to the flesh.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Ephesians 5:25-29 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
1 John 4:19 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
God longs for us to love Him with all that we are.
Matthew 22:37-40 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two command-ments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
John 14:21-23 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
I remember very vividly when the Lord began to impress upon my heart how much He loved me and how much He longed for me to love Him with all of my being. I cried out to God, “God, I want to love you, but I came from an abusive home and I am completely dysfunctional! I don’t know how to love! Holy Spirit, You are going to have to love through me! Take out my stony heart and put in a heart of flesh. Give me a heart after You!”
Ezekiel 11:19-2019 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
When I did that, God put an insatiable hunger and thirst for His Word in me. I began to read the Bible over and over. I began to listen to Christian music all the time. I couldn’t get enough of the things of God, and fell so deeply in love with God. I finally realized that the Bible is His love letter to us, describing all that He has done to lavish His love upon us! Loving Him was the least I could do! I owe Him everything!
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Unfortunately, many Christians have never come to the realization of how much God loves them. Therefore, they have never really fallen in love with God. Sadly, there are too many who call themselves Christians, who genuinely received Jesus as their Savior, but have compartmentalized their faith. They go to church, but the rest of the time they are content to live without giving much thought to the things of God. Or there may be those reading this today who loved God with all of their heart at some point in the past, but that love has grown cold.
Revelation 2:2-5 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil… 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…”
Revelation 3:15-20 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
God likened His relationship with Israel to husband and wife in the Old Testament. The marriage vows that we make are based upon the concept of covenant from the Bible. Making a covenant with someone is basically saying I will love you until death. All that I have and all that I am is yours. God gave us that model of a love relationship with His example demonstrated so vividly in the stories of Israel. We Christians are living in a better covenant than they had in Israel before the blood covenant God made with us through the death of Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate example of love as He laid down His life so our intimacy with God could be made possible. The veil was removed so all of us can approach God. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah 31:31-36 31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
God is love. It is God Who teaches us what love is:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
God is love, and He wants only the best for us. He wants us to be blessed. [See Deuteronomy 28]
Jeremiah 29:11-13 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
John 10:10-11 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” [Words of Jesus]
God describes that He is a jealous God. Anything that takes the place of first love in our lives becomes an idol. Idolatry was referred to many times as worshipping demons. A devil is not going to want the best for us and will not help us in time of need. Have you ever heard the saying, “Give the devil an inch, and he’ll become your ruler!”? It grieved the heart of God deeply when He would lavish His love on Israel, only for her to turn and follow after idols. He uses words to describe this like ‘whoring’ and ‘harlotry’.
Numbers 15:38-40 38Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
40That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
Deuteronomy 31:15-16 15And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.
16And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
Ezekiel 16:1-15 1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: “Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling clothes. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
6 “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’
7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare.
8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.
9 “Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. 14 Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you,” says the Lord GOD.
15 “But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it.
Leviticus 17:7 7And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations.
Isaiah 57:13 13 When you cry out,
Let your collection of idols deliver you.
But the wind will carry them all away,
A breath will take them.
But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,
And shall inherit My holy mountain.”
Deuteronomy 32:16-17 16 They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 They sacrificed to demons, not to God,
To gods they did not know,
To new gods, new arrivals
That your fathers did not fear.
Psalm 106:36-39 36 They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
37 They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
38 And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.
39 Thus they were defiled by their own works,
And played the harlot by their own deeds.
Sadly, there are very few Christians today who really love God more than anything in life. That is a foreign, even old fashioned concept in this generation. I find it interesting to go into the room of a teen ager and look at what they have plastered all over their walls. Today’s idols are things like sports, beauty, talents, pursuit of money, celebrities, sensuality, witchcraft, material wealth and possessions, self-reliance, intellect, etc. The gospel is presented many times as fire insurance salvation and then positive motivational teaching. God doesn’t just want us to go to church as a social club and regard Him as someone we go to only if we need something. It is time for us to stop treating God like a vending machine. We go to Him when we want something. Then, if we don’t get it right away we throw a temper tantrum. We yell at Him. We would even kick Him if that were possible. We also expect God to be our ambulance in time of trouble. Bur other than that He very rarely hears from us. Is there something wrong with that picture? I feel like it is time we search our hearts and seek to know the Lord for Who He really is…the Lover of our soul!
Joshua 24:15 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Romans 8:26-28 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose…
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I want to encourage you to ask the Lord to make Himself real to you. Ask Him to give you a hunger for His word and to show You how much He loves you. We need a fresh revelation of the goodness of God. We need to examine our hearts and see what we are really putting first in our lives. Nothing will meet our needs, emotionally, physically, financially or spiritually like God will. We have tried to fill the longing in our heart with so many empty things. Only God can satisfy that longing. Only He can love us like we long to be loved. It is finally time to stop looking for love in all the wrong places. You have found it, His name is Jesus!
Ephesians 3:14-21 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
By Gloria Garner