“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
We often forget how loved we are. This is the source of most of our problems in life. When we fail to realize God’s love for us, we become frantic, sin entangles us, our worries prevail, our hearts grow cold. As a result, there’s little to no room for Jesus in our noisy, crowded lives.
What can be done about this?
If we’ll simply pause here for a moment, God can speak into our situation. Over every competing voice in our lives, He’ll tell us exactly what we need to hear—that in Christ we are loved with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). Before the foundations of the earth were laid, God set His love upon you (Eph. 1:4-5). His love for you inhabits your every breath. And long after any memory of your life has faded from this earth, God, in His love, will not have forgotten you.
Don’t doubt it, you are loved. You always have been. You always will be. Why not embrace that love here and now as you look toward Sunday? Odds are, you’ve forgotten just how loved you really are. Perhaps you’ve been going through the motions of your life without giving your soul an opportunity to marvel at God’s love. Or maybe the shame you feel over your sin has got thinking that you’ve got to pay your dues before you can once again be confident in His love for you.
If any of that sounds like you, let these words from Henri J. M. Nouwen put you back in touch with the reality of divine love: “Jesus came to share His identity with you and to tell you that you are the beloved sons and daughters of God. Just for a moment try to enter this enormous mystery that you, like Jesus, are the beloved daughter or the beloved son of God. This is the truth.”
Nouwen concludes by saying that, because you now share in Christ’s identity, your life “is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, ‘I love You, too.'” Only God’s love can take frantic, sinful, cold-hearted people like us and make our lives say back to Him, “I love You, too.” Stop here and ask Him to do that now by praying something like this:
Lord, I confess that I am prone to forget about Your love for me. I repent of this by fully embracing my new identity in Jesus. I ask that, as I marvel at His love for me, I would be transformed to show that same self-giving love to others. In that way, make my life say to You, “I love You, too.” Amen.
May our daily living and the way we worship together on Sundays be our way of making one resounding statement: We love because He first loved us.
Set List for Sunday, May 20, 2018:
Glorious Day (S. Curran, J. Ingram, J. Smith, K. Stanfill)
What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)
I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) by Passion (C. H. Gabriel, C. Tomlin)
God So Loved (M. Crocker, M. Sampson)
Worthy Of Your Name (B. Brown, S. Curran, B. Younker)