“God Is Love. Whoever Lives in Love Lives In God, and God In Them” (1 John 4:16).
“God is Love,” that is the plain explanation from Scripture about God’s nature and character. If God is Love, then it is also true that Love is God. So, Love is a noun that identifies who God is (nature), and a verb which defines what His does (action). (1 John 4:8; 1 Cor.13:1-8, 13)
“Where Love Is, God Is” – L. Tolstoy (Pic: Wiki Commons)
Greetings once more Friends! In my New Year post titled, the “Four Temptations” (see http://bulamanriver.net/11339) I shared some vital information concerning the spiritual battle we will surely encounter in 2018. As we face the year before us, what would we consider as a primary quest and worthy task? No doubt, there will be many suggestions, ideas, and personal preferences. I would like to suggest that whatever our quest it ought to be something elementary, yet pivotal and has as far-reaching an impact that’s worthy of our pursuit. It ought to be something out of this world that is of a miraculous nature that can truly help in time of need and more so in distress. I would like to propose: Love! Why, because Love is the essence of life itself. It is not love in the sense of our human understanding of it, but rather it’s divine attribute.
We all have physical life, but to have true life is to be possessed by true Love. Physical life is temporary, but true life is spiritual. As the Scripture tell us, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (physical), but on what is unseen (spiritual – God/Love), since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor.4:18, emphasis added). As humans we naturally lean upon and over-emphasize the physical over the spiritual, so we allow the apparent (seen) to stimulate our thoughts and decisions over the transparent (unseen). Jesus, who is God the Son in the Triune Godhead, said this, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). In another passage Jesus declares He is the “light of life” – “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In the sheer expression of true life, Love positions itself as a genuine substance that’s out of this world and worthy of our wholehearted pursuit. Because Love is the “light of life” it fills all of time and space, and is subliminally eminent in that it permeates every fiber of our existence matched only in likeness to God’s Love-nature. (Gen.1:26-27)
God is omniscient and fills all of time and space, and His presence and His Love surrounds us as the air we breathe. (Job 33:4; John 20:22) Listen to how the Psalmist contextualize Love into human life and existence,
You have searched me, Lord,
and You know me.
2You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
3You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
4Before a word is on my tongue
You, Lord, know it completely.
5You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7Where can I go from Your Spirit (Love)?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
8If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.
13For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
17How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with You. (Psa.139:1-18)
What an awesome passage from your Bible. This passage reveals something unique yet powerful about Love as it relates to humans: it is all-pervading that we cannot escape its all-embracing arms in our human experiences and life expression. In everything we do we cannot escape Love’s penetrating touch. Even before your conception Love was present to admire your uniqueness as a person. We either follow Love’s lead and be strengthened by its influence, or, we defy it to our own hurt and be weakened by our inattention. For such is the inescapability of Love in its all-inclusive embrace of our lives.
In Love, God Gave His Triune Being to Mankind Upon The Cross Through His Son’s Death at Calvary (Wiki Commons)
But we are all created with minds having free choice. The passage we read above tells us we cannot escape Love’s care for us. So, how do we make God’s Love part of our very being so we can respond to Love’s affectionate embrace as a person? How do we make Love part of our every-day life so we can rest in its care and providence? It can and will happen only when we obey the very first command to Love God above everything and everyone. This is how the command is stated in the Bible, “I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exo.20:2-3; Deut.5:6-7). Love craves first place in your life and mine. Love will not settle for second best. Only when Love is first and best can we experience the richness of its expression toward those who honor her in first place.
Practically speaking, in all of creation this bond of Love is symmetrically replicated in the human species alone and none other. When a man and a woman enter into a holy bond of marriage and promise to Love one another “until death do us part,” it is essentially about seeking first place in their lives and finding it in their Love for each other. This is to impress the spiritual parallel of the Love-relationship between God and His people where we are affectionately devoted to God in Love above everyone and everything. (Read Rev.19:6-9)
Sometimes we wrongly imagine God has a narcissistic streak when He charges us to Love Him above all else. (Luk.10:27; Deut.6:5) Yet, we ourselves would expect no less from our spouses. Can God be Love and fear (self-absorbed) simultaneously? The two are opposites and cannot exist side by side together. Can light and darkness co-exist? No, wherever light enters, darkness flees. Try switching on a light in a dark room, and you will see what I mean. We fail to realize that if you are commanded to Love Someone who is in essence identical to you, then the command is tantamount to expressing Love for yourself, in as much as you’re the reflection of that Someone. (Gen.1:26-27) The only reason we can’t see God from that aspect is because we are self-centered. We are self-absorbed and narcissistic, not God. Love is creative, giving and generous, self-love is uncreative, demanding and excessive. We Love God topmost because He does the same for us and more. (Matt.7:12) He sacrificed His Son for us while we were yet sinners. (Rom.5:8) Scriptures says He cannot deny us for He sees Himself in us, “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is (in us)” (2 Tim.2:13, emphasis added). John said this, “God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
Dove, Symbol of God’s Love (Wiki Commons)
The only way to Love yourself authentically is to Love God absolutely. A person who loves himself/herself first fails to grasp the core understanding of his/her own humanity and distinct personhood in God’s Love image. (Rom.8:29; Gen.1:26-27) To Love self above God is really an act of reproaching oneself as a person made in God’s likeness, and spontaneously attracts all kinds of harmful ills and brings on much needless burden. To worship the self is to live against the grain of who we are as humans made in God’s Love-image. Thereby, to Love God above everything is the highest and noblest thing a human can do. The higher we Love God, the deeper we Love ourselves as free personalities created in His Triune Love-likeness. Only through genuine Love for self can you Love others (neighbor) sincerely because you have become Love yourself by Loving God first. God has made us like Him in His Love to overcome all and live peaceably with our fellowmen. For God is who we are and growing to become for all eternity: LOVE! (Gen.1:26-27)
In whatever enterprise we will pursue today and the year ahead of us, ‘change’ will seem real and be the operative word. The prophet Daniel prophesied of our “age of increased knowledge” and the correlating dynamic of change and exchange which comes with it. (Dan.12:4) This requires us to adapt accordingly. Some are fearful of change because it brings on uncertainty and in turn breeds insecurity. But there is another more potent force at work in our favor which will remain unmoved and give us stability and security despite harmful influences. The Bible asserts, “Perfect Love expels all fear” (1 John 4:18, NLT). Love remains constant and unchanging and alters external pressures so peace and harmony may reign in your life. In whatever you do, it brings stability and security to those exercised by it. Be certain for the Bible states clearly, “The one who fears is not made perfect in Love” (1 John 4:18). For such is Love, for the Bible quotes God (Love) as saying He is “the same yesterday and today and forever…I change not, so you are not consumed (but saved).” (Heb.13:8, emphasis added; Mal.3:6). What it means is that God’s divine Love is the only known power in the universe which possesses a symmetrical force that counterbalances and defeat any and every hurtful and destructive force which may work against God’s will for us. For the Scriptures say, “If God (Love) be for us, who can be against us” (Rom.8:31).
Know without a shadow of doubt that Love is the only ingredient with the power capable of overriding our circumstances and surroundings and align them to our advantage rather than the reverse. (read Rom.8:28) How so…because the Scriptures tell us this, “Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God (Love)” (Psa.62:11, NASB). If power belongs to God, then power is inherent in and unalienable from His Love, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Love is God Himself and He is the personification of power, so that Love is the process by which His power is dispensed. Everything else may change, but Love never does, but all things will adapt to Love, for God’s purpose prevails by virtue of His power.
There are numerous examples in the Bible showing how God alters events by His miraculous hand so His people are protected and blessed. Through Christ we have been blessed to live the miraculous life through His Love. Therefore, Love will always find its feet to stand no matter the circumstance, for “Love never fails” us. (1 Cor.13:8). There are times when God allows us to face trials but it never happens outside of His Love. The Bible admonishes us, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He Loves. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?” (read Heb.12:5-12, NLT; 1Cor.11:32). We are promised, “there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” We can’t expect a fruit to ripen at once. It takes time to grow, mature and ripen. God’s Love will always bring the best out of us.
So, when we are ‘cornered in life’ so to speak by adverse circumstances, don’t we wish we had the power to extricate ourselves by quashing them and be free of their damaging impact so we may live at peace? Yes, the answer has always been there, waiting in plain sight: Love! When you imagine chaos and fear is about to overtake you, that is when Love thrives best to bring order and harmony. Love will always triumph in the face of all adversity. Never forget the promise, “And we know that God (Love) causes everything to work together for the good of those who Love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Rom.8:28).
The Triune Being of God – Bound By and In Love in Whose Likeness Humanity was Created (Rublev’s Icon of Trinity, Wiki Commons)
Above all, remember that humans can be made to Love because Jesus died for our sins thus reconciling us to God the Father and opening the way for the Spirit to come and enter our lives and personify the very Love of God in and out of us. (John 3:16; Rom.5:5) I sincerely hope you will take that vital step to examine yourself and ask if God is your first Love above all else in 2018. Always keep His promise for you at the forefront of your mind, ”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer.29:11). May God bless you abundantly in 2018!
To read more about God’s Love, you may go to my previous posts on the subject like Love’s fruits which is the proof of His Love in our lives. Jesus said, “By their fruits (deeds) you will recognize them” (Matt.7:16). You may go to:- http://bulamanriver.net/9199 http://bulamanriver.net/9354; http://bulamanriver.net/10401;
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or you may email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for visiting.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life”* in the person of Jesus’ “Immanuel humanity.” Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
(Your Servant In Christ)
* “Triune Life” means to inherit human personhood identifying us as true persons with gifts in Christ and living according to the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26-27; Rom.8:29) It means a believer who lives the 3-dimensional life with the Triune God, as opposed to the ‘solitary’ 1-dimensional life in himself (“Adamic humanity”). It means to live in relationship with God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who lives and walks in you (“Immanuel humanity”). Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune God, who took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead. To live the “Triune Life” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit in us. The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27) This is a life of divine power. You can read more at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092, also at: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036)
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website, www.bulamanriver.com, where you can order a copy of my book, “Bulamanriver – The Miracle of Triune Living”
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Life Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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