The Overwhelming Love of God

Do you ever wonder why does God love me? As a Christian we hear that phrase a lot, “God loves you!” Have you ever thought why? We may not understand why certain things happen, but we can say God loves me. When suffer and go through trials God still loves (Rom. 8:35-39). The beloved disciple of Jesus, John, writes in 1 John why the love of God is so important. He is answering and defending who Jesus is. He is fully man and fully God. This matters because God loves you!

Tina Turner asked this question in her song “What’s Love God to Do With It?” In regards to God’s love it has everything to do with it. God is love, and He loves us, so we can love one another (1 John 4:7-8). Here are four aspects to God’s love for us to reflect on.

God’s Love Is A Mark Of A Christian.

The born-again believer is made distinct from the world based on what? in 1 John we see that it is by how they love. Christian, there should be something different about you. There should be something that stands out from you, and that is how you love others.

We can love one another because love is from God. This love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). His love shapes us and defines us as Christians.  Jesus even said, everyone will know that you are my disciples by how you love (John 13:35).

God’s Love Is Manifested Through Christ.

The beloved disciple John writes, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 9-10).

God is love! God as his divine attribute and characteristic is love. All of God’s activity is a loving activity. Everything we know about God teaches us that he is love. Every encounter we have with God expresses that He is love.

The highest, greatest example of how God loves is shown in Christ! God who is love and is loving is shows his love through and in Jesus Christ. The Bible reminds us that we know love because Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16).

The famous love passage in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, gives us a description of what love looks like. It is a tangible approach to love that is demonstrated by Jesus.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

We sometimes want to read that and then challenge ourselves by replacing the word love with our names.  The description that Paul is giving is that of Jesus Christ, who perfectly loved.  We need to read this passage as Jesus is patient and kind and so on. You and I will fail to love perfectly but Jesus loves perfectly. We then rest in Jesus who loves perfectly as we can reflect this love to one another.

The Love Of God Is Our Mission And Message Of The Believer To The World.

Because God loves me, I can love God (1 John 4:19). Because God loves me, and can also love others, including those who are hard to love. It has been said, “The unseen God reveals himself through the visible love of believers.” We are a reflection of God who loves! 

How does this happen. There is a word that John uses in 1 John 4, it is abide. He writes, “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because 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. 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 4:12, 13, 15-16).

The word abide also means to dwell in, remain in, or to live in. I like the term live in because it shows the depth of the relationship. There is a difference between a house and a home. A house can be a temporary dwelling place to keep you safe from the elements. But a home as the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” Home is where you have roots. Home is where you are invested and committed. Whenever I may be out traveling and staying in hotels, I can’t wait to get home. It is because that is where I abide.A

Many may approach their relationship with God like a house. It serves them a purpose but temporary. If we abide in God, He abides in us, because He has given us His Spirit (1 John 4:13). We are committed, in union with, live in with God; we abide!

Jesus was asked what are the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:36-40)? Jesus responded by the saying the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. When we abide in God, we love God with our whole being. It is a result of abiding is loving him. We love Him because He first loves us (1 John 4:19).  

The second command Jesus said is like the first which is to love your neighbor as yourself. Oswald Chambers answered the question of who is my neighbor? He said, “If my heart is right with God, every human being is my neighbor. When we abide in God, we love God and we love others. This is God’s love which is made visible in Christian love for one another.

We Can Love Those That Are Hard To Love!

How do we love other people? Love Jesus more than them. When you love Jesus more than your spouse, you actually love your spouse better. The same is true when you love Jesus more than children you love them better. When you love Jesus more than others you actually care and share the Gospel of love with them. When we love Jesus more, we are able to speak truth in love. Because we love Jesus and love other people. 

When we abide in God and He in us, we can love our enemies. Jesus commands us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48).  We need to remember that we were once an enemy of God, someone hard to love and yet God loved me still. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

To summarize:

  • God loves you! He demonstrated in the most glorious and greatest way through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
  • How do we love God in return? It is when the believer demonstrates God’s love to one another!

When God Says No

Anyone who has children knows that children have a hard time when the parents may say “No” to their request. Parents who love their children curb their children’s wishes to teach them to resist indulgence, to protect them, and to train them. No is not always a bad thing but can be a good thing. Hearing no as the answer to a request is not just hard for children but also for adults. God responds to our prayer requests at times with a no, why?

What about the real requests? I am not talking about those ridiculous prayer requests like wanting a mansion or a sports car, but why do we get a “no” from God still? What if our intentions are pure and good and we still get a no, why?

He Loves Us

The theme of God’s love is interwoven throughout the Bible. A defining characteristic of God is that He is love (1 John 4:8, 16). God is not only loving but is love. God’s love for His children, the Christian is special and unique. God who has this special and unique love for His child will answer “no” to our requests at times because He loves us.

In Matthew 7 Jesus gives this illustration of how an earthly father knows how to give good gifts so how much more your Father who is in heaven knows how to give good things to those who ask (Matt. 7:11). We can look at it almost the same way but with not getting what we ask, why because he who is in heaven, knows what we need or what we don’t need.

The overwhelming love of God is manifested through the Son (1 John 4:9). We know God loves us. So, when we receive a “no” from God with one of our requests remember it is because He loves us.

He Is Protecting Us

Another reason we receive a “no” which stems from His love for us may be because He is protecting us from something that we are unaware of that good be harmful or not good for us. I

In Matthew 7 we are encouraged by Jesus to approach God the Father like a child seeking their earthly father. We ask, seek, and knock with confidence that God hears us but also that He will answer us. Jesus gives the example of a child asking for a fish receives a poisonous snake instead or asking for bread receives rocks. God doesn’t do mean or spiteful responses. But what if what we are asking for is more like the rocks or the poisonous snakes? God knows those would be harmful to us and does not give them.

Just like a parent tells their toddler no when they may be doing something potentially dangerous out of their protective love for their child. The toddler may not know that putting their finger in the light socket is dangerous, the parents do and want to protect their children. The same way, God in His perfect love protects His children from things that may not be good for us.

He is Perfect in His Timing

We may receive a “no-not yet” response from God about our prayer request too. The Apostle Paul dealt with no from God. He wanted to share the Gospel in an area of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) but God said no (Acts 16:6-10). At first glance this may seem brash of God to respond with no. He was not telling Paul that the Gospel would not be shared there. He was telling him that he wasn’t going there to share the Gospel. If you continue to read the passage Paul was directed to another place where God wanted him to go, Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10).

God cared for those of that area so it wasn’t where God preferred a place or people above the other. It was based on God’s perfect timing and placing of Paul. Later that area that Paul would want to go to were mission fields for other disciples to go to and were fruitful places of ministry.

God will say no because we may have our eyes in the wrong place and it may not be the right time. Just like the promises of God to Abraham, Joseph, or David to be used in a great way took time.

When you receive a “no” from God on something you were asking of Him let me encourage you (and me) to respond humbly. Reflect and remember on what the Bible says, God loves you and is good. He protects and directs us. We want to be in His perfect will and that means even in His perfect timing!