Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love … So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.1 John 4:8, 16
God’s Word tells us clearly, in no uncertain terms: God Is Love. Period. This is straightforward, bold, and deep truth. And, there can be a great disconnect between knowing in our mind that God is love and experiencing Him as such in our hearts and lives.
God’s love provides our salvation (Ephesians 2:4). This is huge and not to be overlooked or discredited in this article. But what I want to share is more along the lines of how God’s provision, His heart, and His correction in my life have proven His love for me.
God’s love is manifested through His provision of our physical, mental, moral, and spiritual needs. We see this in the Bible (Isaiah 48:14, 20-21; Isaiah 62:9-12; Isaiah 63:11-14), and I’ve experienced it first-hand in my life. God provided a Good News Club (at Bridgeport Community Church) when I was in the midst of chaos, turmoil, and abuse as a young child. Jesus met me there and came into my heart when I invited Him (on at least three occasions, just to be sure). His indwelling Spirit took up residency and worked powerfully in the background of my life. He was there even in the midst of my choices that would take me down a path of marriage to two husbands (both addicts), raising my family to the best of my ability in my own power, and eventually into drug addiction, criminal activity, and homelessness. When I was at the end of my rope, out of resources and relationships that I had worked so hard to acquire, God was faithfully, lovingly still there, waiting for me to turn and rely on Him.
His provision of healing from PTSD, anxiety, depression, drug addiction, and codependency has been miraculous! His provision of godly brothers and sisters that seek hard after Him for their own healing and restoration has been life-giving and has changed the trajectory of my life. His loving provision, day by day, of His grace, mercy, hope, love, and joy permeates all arenas of my life.
God feels with His people (sorrow, afflictions, jealousy, anger, joy, thanksgiving). God is jealous for us, desiring that we serve and worship Him alone. God comforts us with His love when we are afflicted, angry, and sorrowful. God rejoices with us when we offer Him thanksgiving and praise in the midst of our trying circumstances. Learning how to pay attention to my emotions and submit them to our holy, righteous, just, kind, and loving Father has been a significant part of my healing journey.
God experiences emotions. We are created in His image. We have been created to experience emotion, too. There is nothing more freeing than coming to an awareness that my “soft heart” was created in me on purpose and for His glory! Over the span of my life, and even in recent days and weeks, I can see how the enemy has attempted to detour me off the path of God’s design and will for my life through the expression of my emotions. I am grateful that Jesus walked this planet and modeled for us how to steward well a heart of devotion to the Father and compassion for others. I am grateful for Paul and the other New Testament authors that recorded the life of Jesus and the early church to provide instructions and guidelines for us as we walk out our own lives in the 21st century. I am grateful for God’s Word that teaches me and shapes me to become more like Him.
God’s love expressed through correction and reproof are a necessary part of growth in holiness and righteousness. We’re all on a journey toward greater righteousness and holiness. In and of ourselves, there is not one righteous (right with God and capable of right living); there is not one who is pure and holy. Thanks be to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, for granting us righteousness, purity, and holiness through faith in Him.
I can’t claim holiness, righteousness, or purity without the work of Jesus actively moving in and through my life. I have suffered consequences and mercy in the aftermath of my decisions. God’s love corrects me and saves me from myself, probably more often than I realize. This is true for each one of us. Through the blood and work of Jesus, the power and influence of the Spirit, and the grace and mercy of our Father, each one of us can lay claim to holiness, righteousness, and purity. We are to be examples of Jesus while we’re walking this journey of life. And, only because God is love can we even begin to be successful at this.
God is love. His Word tells me so. His provision of healing and community show me so. His Spirit and intentional design of my body, heart, and mind reveal His love, not only for me but through me. I am grateful to be celebrating God’s goodness and love in this season. May His 2020 vision for my life come to pass in His timing and way.