Thank you for tuning in to the Live to Love with Jesus Blog for December, 2021. I invite you to join me as we worship Jesus, the Revelation of God’s Love.
It’s the Christmas season, so of course, our focus turns to the coming of Jesus to earth. We celebrate that glorious day when Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ, the Lord, the Savior of the world entered into our dark, fallen, condemned, useless existence. What value did He see in us? God’s description of mankind isn’t a pretty picture.
“There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).
Last month, we began a series of blog posts focusing on renewing our minds to think like Jesus thinks about relationships. If you didn’t read or listen to it, I invite you to do so here. You can track with me as I unpack “four love thoughts.” The first “Jesus thought” was that the value of a person isn’t based upon what we can get from them. We can easily conclude from the passage above that there was nothing good that Jesus could get from us when He came to earth, yet He loves us. What kind of love is it that loves people as they are described above? Why would He enter into a world where He knew He could get nothing but trouble, pain, inconvenience, and — a cross? He must not think like we think! Living to love with Jesus requires that we think about relationships like Jesus did. That’s not easy, in fact, it’s impossible without knowing Him and having our minds renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit through His Word. Let me suggest a second “love thought” that helps us understand why God would love us and send us His Son. He wanted to reveal His love.
Love Thought Number 2: The value of a person is that his or her presence gives us an opportunity to know, experience, and express God’s love, revealed through Jesus Christ.
Have you ever considered that Jesus looked at the people He met as opportunities to know and experience the love of His Father and to express to them the love He received? God’s love is abundant and overflowing. It is the kind of love that fills us by its very nature and power. Each person we meet presents an opportunity to please our Father, because we know Him. He is love, and we know from Scripture that what pleases Him is faith working through love (1 John 4:8; Hebrews 11:6; Galatians 5:6). This thinking should completely change the way we view people and relate to God.
Last month, I shared that the doctor who delivered our daughter, Amanda, who has Down syndrome, informed us immediately afterward that we had birthed “a mistake.” He basically told us we had given birth to a “useless” child. That word useless reminded me of Romans 3:12, where God calls all humanity “useless” to Him. The way I processed it the day Amanda was born went something like this. How does God love me when I am so useless? It can’t be based on what He gets from me, because the only thing my life can bring to Him is a brutal death on a cross. So how am I of value?
I concluded that my uselessness and sinfulness become opportunities for His love to flow from the Father, to Jesus, through Him, and ultimately to me so that I might experience the same love from the Father. In a sense, the love of God the Father fills Jesus to overflowing and pours out on His children until we are immersed in a kind of great pool of love, which reshapes our thinking and our hearts, and transforms our worldly kind of love into His God-centered, blessing-others kind of love. My own sin-sick state brought out His mercy and compassion, and I soaked it in the way parched soil absorbs rainwater. It was as Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). And at another time, He told the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). In His mercy, God began this life-changing work in me in earnest when He gave Amanda to our family.
I think believers who experience the love of God in a deep way should expect such a transformation. If you thus far have experienced only the frustration of relationships that are unsatisfying and stressful, or if you are recognizing within yourself the inescapable motive of using others for your own benefits, take heart! The Lord may well be showing you the limits of the earthly love we naturally know and introducing you to the heavenly love that comes only from Him. The apostle John wrote that as we “come to know and to believe” the love that God has for us, and as we abide in Him, His love abides in us and is perfected with us. Through this work of the Spirit, John declares that “we are as He is in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Think about Jesus’ earthly ministry. Just as God’s love lived in Jesus and Jesus lived in God’s love, so He could live to love with His Father. And in the same way, His love lives in us, and we live to love with Him. As the Father sovereignly places people in our paths each day, He gives us opportunities to know Him and experience His love until it overflows from us like a great fountain that may satisfy and refresh them with the love and life of Jesus.
This is the wonder of Christmas! God entered our world to show us His love through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the light of the world, and His light is love. When we live to love with Jesus, we are continuing that ministry of light to the world. In a sense, believers are living testimonies that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Because He first loved us and is with us, we love. I hope this Christmas, you’ll join me in worshiping Jesus, the revelation of God’s love, by living to love with Jesus.
If you have been a financial supporter of The Spirit of Elijah Ministries International, we are so grateful for your generosity and love expressed through your giving. If you haven’t been, would you pray about joining the Elijah Ministries support team by donating to the ministry? In doing so, you are helping us continue to equip men to turn their hearts toward God and provide examples and encouragement to their families. Our ministry objectives are to equip the saints to apply the gospel to relationships and make disciples who live to love with Jesus. You can make a one time or regular contribution here. Thank you!